Local health alliance passionate about helping uninsured

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- A deadline thousands of Michiganders don't want to miss is just two weeks from Monday: that's signing up for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

A Southeast Grand Rapids hair salon might not seem like a likely place to discuss health care, but Gertrude Croom doesn't pick your typical places to sign people up. "We've been everywhere," she said.

Croom is co-leader of the Grand Rapids Michigan Affordable Care Alliance, and instead of the uninsured seeking out her agencies, she finds them.

"We have sent flyers out similar to this out to about 20 different churches and organizations saying we are set up to help you, send your people out," she said.

22-year-old Eriaena Watkins saw one of those flyers, and showed up at the salon Friday, not even aware of the March 31 deadline.

"You got to spread the word to your friends," said Croom. "When I took the time to call, and actually got a call back, that was a big step for me. Like wow, there's really someone out there who wants to help."

Croom says she serves a demographic with too many people uninsured and unaware of where to go, so she needs to go to them. "In this area, there hasn't been a lot of activity on the part of organized groups and when I say activity, I say trying to get the word out."

She even makes home visits. And knowing people will likely wait until the last minute, everyone in her alliance is prepared to go where needed.

"When you know your background and the things that were done for you, when you know who has helped you get to where you are, well geeze, am I supposed to sit on a bump on a log?" asked Croom.

For information on Croom's resources, click here: Grand Rapids Michigan Affordable Care Alliance

This is the website to find a local agency near your: ACA


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