Open Enrollment for the Affordable Health Care Insurance Is Now On
The Open Enrollment Period for signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Health Care Act is now open until December 15th, so we talked to Jeremy Smith of West Virginia Navigator to learn more about the program.
“My name is Jeremy Smith, I am the Program Director for West Virginia Navigator” said Smith. “We are a grant funded program to help people to sign up for health care under the Affordable Health Care Act’s Marketplace.”
Where do we stand with the Affordable Care Act right now?
“The Affordable Care Act launched for folks in the fall of 2013” Smith answered. “so, this will be the sixth open enrollment for people to signup for health insurance under the Marketplace. Not a lot has changed, a lot of folks, if they’re listening to the folks up in Washington, they may think that it’s been cancelled out and is not available anymore, but it’s definitely still an option for people to get health insurance and this is the time of the year where they need to pay attention. November 1st up until December the 15th is the annual open enrollment period. So if you need health insurance you need to do it before the deadline, or you may not be able to get coverage again until 2020.”
How would people go about doing that?
“The Marketplace is available for anybody who can’t get health insurance through your job or Medicare or Medicaid. There is private healthcare plans to look at on healthcare.gov. And of course, our program, West Virginia Navigator was created so that we could help people through that process. We know it can be confusing to look at healthcare plans and using a computer to signup can be confusing as well, so what our folks do is we study the plans each year and we’ve become experts in navigating the healthcare.gov system. So what we do is take appointments with people, either over the phone or in person and we are able to walk them through the entire process and help them get signed up before that all important deadline (December 15th’)”
How would they go about contacting you?
“Anyone who needs an appointment, we really encourage them to give us a call toll free at 844 WV CARES or you can call us locally at 304-356-5834 and we are more than happy to answer any question you may have or help you through the entire enrollment process.”
So, they have until December 15. I understand people have been getting phone calls about health insurance, can you explain what is going on there?
“Yea, so folks shopping online for health insurance need to pay special attention to what websites they are going to. Healthcare.gov is the official website to shop for a health insurance plan. But what we’ve been hearing from folks is that there are about 10 or 15 websites out there that if you go to, you’ll be contacted by health insurance telemarketers. And a lot of the plans they are offering are not full health insurance plans, they are what’s called a catastrophic health insurance plan and they don’t cover the services that the plans on the Marketplace covers. So you just need to pay special attention to what you are signing up for. If they are asking you about pre-existing conditions or they are saying it doesn’t cover a lot of services that insurance usually does, then you need to be leary and do your homework before you sign up. So we really encourage you if you have questions, please reach out to us, this is a free grant program, we don’t work for an insurance company, we don’t get commissions. We are here just to help the people of West Virginia.”
How about costs this year compared to last year or the year before?
“That’s the number one question we get…is how much does a health insurance plan cost on the Marketplace, and it’s a hard question to answer, because it is different for everyone. Most of the insurance plans on healthcare.gov end up being income-based. The reason being is that about eight of every ten West Virginians can qualify for a monthly subsidy that will help you pay for your health insurance plan. But your subsidy you get is based on your family size and your income, so what your neighbor may pay may not be what you pay. So it is really important to, you know, kind of anticipate your income and we can get you the price estimates of what your insurance plans will cost you and your family. Of course, more information is available on our website at WVNavigator.com.”
Thank you very much!
“Yea, thanks for having me.”