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With Thousands in WV Looking for Health Coverage After JobLoss, WV Navigator is Available to Provide Free Assistance During

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With Thousands in WV Looking for Health Coverage After Job Loss, WV Navigator is Available to Provide Free Assistance During the ACA 2021 Open Enrollment Period

Open enrollment for marketplace health insurance, available through the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), will be November 1 through December 15.

This year is expected to be a busy year for enrollment, as record numbers of unemployed seek health insurance. Over the past year, thousands of people have lost their jobs and their employer based healthcare.

Although those who lose their job are eligible for a special enrollment period, many may not have been aware of this and will be signing up during open enrollment. Health insurance navigators say residents should call early this year to get an appointment to learn about their options.

Jeremy Smith, program director for WV Navigator, a non-profit enrollment assistance group, says getting help signing up is important, as many people are overwhelmed by the options and may choose the wrong type of plan for their family.

He said, “This time of year, people are bombarded with ads for health insurance. Some are legitimate, but some are not. We are grant-funded, so we have no profit motive and our only goal is to help people find the best, most affordable plan for them.”

Smith said that many people are concerned as they see partisan fights over the ACA, and worry that they will lose coverage.

“No matter who is elected or who is on the Supreme Court, those who sign up this year during open enrollment will be able to keep their plan for 2021, no matter what pre-existing conditions they have,” Smith said.

Financial help is available when signing up for health insurance through the marketplace. Last year, 8 in 10 applicants qualified for financial help in obtaining health care coverage. For those that are already enrolled in marketplace health insurance, new plans and prices are available.

Those with current marketplace coverage should pick a new plan or re-enroll in their existing plan by December 15, to prevent a lapse in coverage. Anyone in West Virginia can call 304-356-5834 now to reserve a telephone appointment. Consultations are available over the telephone, or through a telehealth option that will allow callers to see their application completed in real-time.

There is no charge for enrollment assistance. The agency is a free program to WV residents and receives federal funding to assist consumers with enrolling in WV Medicaid or in private health insurance through provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). More information is available at www.wvnavigator.com

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