Health care billboards in Fox Cities remind residents to sign up

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APPLETPN, Wis.(WFRV)– With the deadline to purchase insurance less than three weeks away, community organizers are pushing to remind residents to sign up.

Trish Sarvela, the development director for Partnership Community Health Center  said,“This is about change.  This is about the most important social legislation of our time and it’s about transporting people’s lives.”

Partnership, United Way, Leaven, Affinity, Theda Care, and Community Foundation joined together to pay for 5 ads in various locations around the Fox Cities. 

The billboards were put up Thursday morning.

“Because of the fact that it’s so visible, so large and is viewed by so many, I think that is the awareness piece that we’re looking for,” said Terrie Pohjola, the Billboard Coordinator.  

Unlike Illinois and Minnesota, Wisconsin didn’t accept federal funding to market enrollment. 

Instead, a Wisconsin Office of Commissioner Insurance spokesman told Local 5, they used grassroots efforts to educate residents. 

These billboards will reach about 200,000 people a week.

“It’s completely about getting the story out that people can get health care because they’ve had pre-existing conditions, they can stay on their parents health insurance until they’re 26,” said Sarvela.

The billboards cost around $2,600 and feature local residents. 

The billboards encourage people to call United Way’s 211 number for help to enroll.

Pohjola said, “The 211 operators can refer them to an enrollment site that’s most convenient for them.”

As of March 1st more than 71,000 Wisconsin resident had signed up for insurance. 

They hope these messages will increase those number.

If residents don’t purchase insurance by March 31st, they will face a fine and won’t be able to enroll until October 1st.

There are exceptions to that rule such as a life changing event; marriage, child birth, moving to another state, etc.

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