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Navigator program helps with insurance exchange
SoVaNow.com / September 30, 2013As thousands of Virginians prepare for the opening of the new health insurance marketplace on Tuesday, a network of federally trained and certified navigators from ENROLL Virginia! is in place throughout the Commonwealth to help individuals, families, and small businesses explore their options under the new program.
For many of the uninsured in Virginia, this will be the first time they will apply for health coverage, select a health plan, and use coverage to obtain services. As a result, many will need help understanding their new options and applying for tax credits through the Marketplace.
ENROLL Virginia! navigators are trained and certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help Virginians
shop for commercial health plans sold through the health insurance marketplace at http://www.healthcare.gov;
apply for the premium tax credit and cost sharing reduction program to reduce the cost of health coverage;
find out if they qualify for public health insurance programs like Medicaid and FAMIS for individuals, children and pregnant women with low incomes.
All navigators will work with any individuals, families and small businesses that seek their assistance and they will adhere to strict privacy and security requirements to protect the personal information of all applicants they assist. Navigators will also provide community education programs to inform the public about existing programs, the new health insurance options, and application procedures.
ENROLL Virginia! is one of two navigator projects in Virginia funded through federal grants.
After the new Marketplace opens on October 1, ENROLL Virginia! will be launching a toll-free number at 888-392-5132 and a website at http://www.enroll-virginia.com to help consumers find navigators, certified application counselors, and others who can provide unbiased and free one-on-one application assistance in every part of Virginia.
ENROLL Virginia! encourages all uninsured people to explore their insurance options through http://www.healthcare.gov. A toll-free call center is also available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325.) Anyone who has found premiums unaffordable in the past and people with preexisting health conditions who have been turned away by insurers, may find many affordable options.
People who already have insurance will not need to apply to the Marketplace. For example, people with affordable health insurance through their work, people who currently have Medicaid, Medicare, or Tricare, and others who are satisfied with their private health insurance can keep the coverage they have.
In some cases, the working poor make too little money to qualify for the tax subsidies. Virginia is considering expanding its Medicaid program to provide health coverage to those people. Navigators will provide information about available safety net programs and services for Virginians who will remain uninsured and without access to health insurance coverage.
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