Enrolling in health insurance can be overwhelming, but Cover Kansas Navigators are here to help with open enrollment through the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace.
Approximately 70 statewide Navigators—including Emily Schneider at Coffey Health System—are ready to assist the public, but the clock is already ticking. Open enrollment through healthcare.gov opened November 1 and ends December 15, 2017.
Coffey Health System obtained grant funding from the Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved to provide Navigator services in Coffey and Woodson County. Schneider has completed roughly 30 hours of training and attained certification as a Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator. Her services are available on a half-time basis through the December 15 deadline.
Schneider will conduct a series of public meetings as well as one-on-one enrollment sessions.
Public meeting dates are:
Navigator services are free of charge. In-person assistance includes review of eligibility for financial assistance, comparison of health insurance plans, and non-biased assistance with enrollment in the coverage of the consumer’s choice. To arrange assistance, call (620) 364-2121 Ext. 4174.
Act fast! The clock is ticking and website access downtime is expected.
Availability of plans in the Marketplace has changed, so Kansans are encouraged to carefully compare the options at healthcare.gov, and visit coverks.org/search. Consumers need to be aware of two changes this year.
“Open Enrollment is much shorter. People need to select a plan and enroll by December 15. Due to the large number of people needing to enroll within 45 days, we encourage Kansans to get enrolled sooner rather than later,” said Debbie Berndsen, Cover Kansas Navigator project director.
Another change consumers need to be aware of is the scheduled maintenance time for healthcare.gov, which will include recurring maintenance on Sundays from midnight to noon (EST). The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reports that system downtime is necessary for maintenance across federal agencies involved in the Open Enrollment process, but actual outage times could be shorter than what has been scheduled. Consumers are encouraged to sign up for deadline reminders and other important email or text updates at healthcare.gov.
Existing Marketplace enrollees should receive letters from their insurance company and from CMS explaining the changes in health insurance plan availability for Kansans in 2018. These letters should be reviewed carefully. Existing enrollees should ensure that their information is up-to-date. Kansans without an offer of health insurance from an employer are encouraged to make an appointment with a certified Navigator. Financial assistance—in the form of Advanced Premium Tax Credits or Cost Sharing Reductions—may be available to help lower out-of-pocket costs associated with Marketplace plans.
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