Department administrators reported to the county board of commissioners that they and their staff have completed training and are prepared to help people go through the process.
In other business before the board of commissioners on Tuesday, commissioners agreed to lobby for removal of a sunken steel vessel blocking a dock on Deep River.
--One is over the Internet. The state and national sites are user friendly, Holmes said, but they were both overwhelmed by consumers on opening day.
--There are sites such as the county health department, the Family Health Clinic and libraries where people can obtain information and find assistance and equipment to access the websites. The county sill soon have sites in operation in Cathlamet and at Johnson Park, Rosburg.
The Family Health Center has staff who are trained in the process, Holmes said, and five people in the health department have been trained.
"It's a big change, but it will assist people who otherwise wouldn't get a health benefit," Holmes said.
Cameron added that the department will benefit by having more clients covered by health insurance.
"We serve a lot of people who we don't get reimbursed for," she said. "So it's important so we can add billings for services we are already providing."
Holmes added that many Chemical Dependency Program clients don't have medical insurance that will cover those services. Under the Affordable Care Act, coverage is mandated under all plans to some extent.
"It will help people get service," he said.
Commissioner Dan Cothren said he had doubts about the act, but he was glad to see the health department preparations.
"You need to move ahead and work with what you've got," he said. "We need to be proactive."
In response to a question from the audience, Holmes said department staff aren't planning to go door to door to find people who can't access the exchanges by Internet, but they could help people while performing regular program services.
The vessel has been on the program's list since 2005, but it keeps getting bumped on the priority list, Scott said.
The vessel obstructs a boat ramp and dock site that are heavily used by fishermen she said, and that puts those kinds of sites on high priority, Scott said. She asked commissioners to contact program administrators and urge them to move the site up the priority list.
"It would really enhance gillnetting (operations) on Deep River," Scott said. Gillnetters and fish buyers use the site for launching boats and collecting catches from the Deep River Select Area Fishery.
It's a really important piece of the fishery," she said.
Commissioners voted to write a letter supporting the rapid removal of the vessel.