Enroll Virginia looks out for consumers

Earlier this fall Elizabeth Barbour of enroll Virginia spoke to a group of local government officials to let them know about a service that will be available to Allegheny Highlands’ residents needing healthcare. Allegheny Mountain Radio got in touch with her again to make sure all of her information reaches those both new and experienced looking for coverage for themselves or their whole family. I asked her “What is different now about finding health care that covers what we need?”

“Obviously we have a law upon the land called the Affordable Care Act. And it means each citizen needs to have health coverage, unless of course they’re exempt from having that health coverage. And Virginia’s exchange operates out of the federally facilitated website called healthcare.gov. And the application process is a bit complicated, so a group of folks got interested in helping Virginians and formed an organization called Enroll Virginia. We are a consumer advocacy, public interest, public service located all over the state with persons just like myself who offer one on one personal assistance in navigating healthcare.gov. during the application process for an affordable healthcare plan on Virginia’s exchange.

Sometimes the words “exchange, marketplace, consumer, minimum standards, etc.” make me feel like there is a whole special language just for health insurers, and it’s hard to know what to look for.

“If this were maybe my first time applying, I could come into the library and sit down beside you at a monitor, and you would maybe talk me through the process, if I had all my correct information with me?”

“Exactly. What you would want to do is look into your local resources for when our dates and places are going to be, and you would make an appointment preferably, although there is some possibility of walk-ins.” Said Barbour. “Exactly what we would do is talk about projected income for the year 2016 in your household. And your household consists of those people on your tax return, 2016’s projected income for the members of the household. And absolutely what we do is confidential, one on one, and I’d like to stress I’m not selling anything. I am a consumer advocate. My help is unbiased; my help is free. And all I do is help a person work through the application. All any Enroll Virginia person does is work through the application with consumers to see what their options might be. We can make an enrollment choice, however then it becomes between the consumer and the insurer. So we’re just a facilitator.”

In addition to Elizabeth Barbour of Enroll Virginia, the Highland Medical Center in Monterey has a certified assister, because November, December and January are the months when it’s time to enroll. Barbour continued,

“And like my group, they are a non-profit entity, so it’s very available, and it’s a bona fide, unbiased place to also go.”

There will be a couple of informational meetings about looking for affordable care at the Bath County Library, and then the actual appointments to find a provider that meets your needs will take place at the courthouse in Warm Springs. Clifton Forge and Covington will also each have an introductory meeting, and then take appointments individually to complete the process. Those dates and times will be available on Allegheny Mountain Radio’s calendar of events, and included in the second part of this story tomorrow. Elizabeth Barbour concluded.

“So if anybody’s interested, I would really encourage them to take advantage of this unbiased, easy to do, show-up-and see-what-happens opportunity with Enroll Virginia.”


Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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