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Letter: Help available for health care marketplace


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From: Elizabeth Morris

Columbus

Received: Jan. 1

Since 1993, Healthy Communities, with the support of the Columbus Regional Health Foundation, has been working to promote healthy lifestyles, promote healthy relationships and ensure all Bartholomew County residents have access to health care. The most notable effort related to access is the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, which opened in 1996 and since that time has served over 10,000 Bartholomew County residents who do not have health insurance.

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, all Hoosiers — indeed, all Americans — have a much greater opportunity to have the peace of mind that comes with having health insurance for themselves and their loved ones.

Many of our neighbors have already enrolled and are excited to be insured, some for the first time. However, enrolling in any insurance plan can be confusing. And because the national health insurance marketplace created by the ACA is new, many have concerns about whether to enroll or how to enroll to get health insurance.

As part of our mission to ensure all Bartholomew County residents have access to health care, Healthy Communities has worked with a number of community partners to train and place certified navigators in six locations in our community. Their assistance is free. They will be available from now until March 31, when the marketplace closes for 2014. It will reopen in October for 2015 health insurance coverage.

If anyone you know has questions about the ACA, we encourage them to call the national call center at 800-318-2596. The people answering this phone line are very knowledgeable and can answer many of your questions.

Once someone is ready to enroll, they can certainly do this themselves by using the website healthcare.gov. If, however, they would like to take advantage of the free assistance of local, certified navigators, they can make an appointment by calling 800-699-1521.

The people answering this phone line (24/7) will not be able to answer questions about the marketplace. However they will be able to set up an appointment with a trained navigator.

We are very grateful to the CRH Foundation for providing the funds to train the navigators and set up the appointment system. And we are extremely thankful for the volunteer navigators for their time commitment to this very good cause.

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