By ngoriel, SBA Official
Published: November 20, 2013
Note: This blog first appeared at HealthCare.gov on November 20.
While we continue to improve HealthCare.gov, it’s important to remember that there are other ways to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace. One way is to find help in your local community. You can get assistance in a number of different ways: through trained navigators, in-person assistance personnel, or through certified application counselors.
To date, more than 19,000 assisters have been trained by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. We estimate that, since October 1st, they’ve reached over 450,000 consumers.
Our navigator, in-person assister, and certified application counselor programs are critical tools to provide consumers with in-person help. Each assister undergoes a rigorous training process, to include privacy training, and is tested to ensure they’re prepared to help you enroll in the Marketplace.
Assisters are already having a tremendous impact helping folks enroll all across the country. In Oklahoma, Little Dixie Community Action Agency’s staff of 65 trained navigators operates in 80% of the state’s counties. The work is an extension of the agency’s mission to serve lower income families.
Chad Austin, Little Dixie’s Project Coordinator, told us that, once consumers get the right information from assisters, they see the advantage to their “bottom line—costs.” Chad has first-hand experience with the benefits of the assister programs. The first person he helped through the entire application process was someone he helped on his own time during off hours at home. Who was this important first client? Chad’s wife.
Community health centers are also playing a crucial role in the enrollment process. There are trained enrollment assisters at nearly every community health center in the country. Community health centers already treat more than 21 million Americans each year, and, as more uninsured Americans enter the health insurance market for the first time, they will continue to play a crucial role in delivering care.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 300 new community health center sites are being built, and nearly 600 clinics are being renovated.
Finally, in some metropolitan areas, there are trained Enrollment Assistance Teams and Enrollment Assistance Centers staffed by trained personnel who are available to help people with the enrollment process.
Together, in-person assisters and community health centers are working to educate Americans about the choices they have in the new Health Insurance Marketplace, many of whom will have health insurance for the first time.
Start getting covered in your community by visiting LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov today.
About the Author:
Hi, my name is Natale and I'm serving as a Moderator for the SBA Community. Our goal is to continually improve this site to meet your needs, so we appreciate your feedback and participation.