By December 4, 2019 Read More →

Health insurance enrollment deadline looming

Local group offering free help for consumers through Dec. 15 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Affordable Care Act is still in place and open enrollment is almost over for West Virginians who need to enroll, re-enroll or switch health insurance plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Four weeks into open enrollment, there has been a 36% decrease in sign-ups in West Virginia when compared to the same time period only two years ago. So far this year, 5,025people have enrolled, compared to 7,828 at this time two years ago.  

WV Navigator, a federally grant-funded project operated by First Choice Services, cautions people to pay close attention to the new deadline this year.

The Health Insurance Marketplace offers monthly subsidies for people to help pay for their insurance plans.  However, applicants must enroll through the Marketplace call center or online at Healthcare.gov to get those subsidies. 

Jeremy Smith, program director for WV Navigator, says that many people are confused about their options this year.  He says that some think the ACA is no longer in place, and many are signing up for limited plans which may not cover their needs.  He said “People are telling us that they are ending up on websites other than healthcare.gov and getting inundated with calls from people selling them plans. That may account for some of the decrease this year.”  

He noted that outreach funds were cut last year as well, so people may not be as aware that free help is available.  He said, “We are trying our best to get the word out that if you want a 2020 health insurance plan through the Marketplace then you have to sign up by December 15, 2019.” He urges anyone who needs assistance to reach out to his group for free help.  He added, “We don’t work on commission. Our job is to make sure you get the best insurance for you and your family and guide you through the whole enrollment process.”

According to Smith, most people who apply qualify for a subsidy to make the insurance more affordable, and in fact 34% find a plan for less than $10 a month, and 54% find a plan for less than $75 per month. 

West Virginians who need help enrolling or have questions about health insurance can take advantage of the free help that WV Navigator provides by calling 1-844-WV-CARES. Appointments can be made for in-person help, or assistance can be provide over the telephone.  More information is available at: www.acanavigator.com 

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