2017-12-13 / News

WV residents can get free help to sign up for insurance by deadline

Individuals and families who need assistance understanding health insurance options and applying for coverage can meet with a healthcare navigator through the WV Healthy Start Navigator Project. The 2018 enrollment season started on November 1 and will continue through December 15.

West Virginia University navigators assisted more people in the first full week of open enrollment for 2018 than the entire month of November last year. Nationwide, in week one 601,462 people selected plans using the HealthCare.gov platform with 464,140 consumers renewing coverage and 137,322 new consumers.

The WV Healthy Start Navigator Project has helped thousands of West Virginians sign up for health insurance and recently received a third year of funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The program serves 29 West Virginia counties in both panhandles and the north central part of the state.

Certified healthcare navigators are trained specialists who provide consumers in their communities with inperson help, answering their questions about health insurance and financial assistance options and assisting them as they complete applications for health coverage.

Navigators are knowledgeable about the range of health plans available on Health- Care.gov as well as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The four certified navigators in WVU’s program are based in Elkins, Martinsburg, Wheeling and Morgantown. Their services are available to everyone and are targeted to groups that have had difficulty obtaining health coverage, including low income pregnant women, new mothers and families, young adults, college students and recent graduates, seasonal workers and international families.

This year, navigators have directly enrolled approximately 500 West Virginians in health plans and provided one-on-one assistance to more than 2,000. West Virginians with healthcare enrollment questions can contact Healthy Start at 866- 738-4274, or call one of the navigators directly:

• Kelly Allen, Morgantown area 304-598-5150,

• Carol Bush, Elkins area 304-614-6848,

• James Adams, Wheeling area 304-218-2894,

• Brittany Watts, Martinsburg area 304-851-6737.

All are now taking appointments for 2018 enrollment help.

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