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Helping Local Folks Enroll in Health Insurance

Both local and national media reports this weekend were mentioning today, December 23, as the deadline to enroll in an insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act.

This is untrue.

Today's deadline is for coverage that begins on January 1. The deadline to enroll in an insurance plan is March 31 without incurring penalties.

(Coverage can begin on February 1 for those who enroll by January 15. The rule is that if you sign up between the 1st - 15th of a month, then coverage can begin on the first of the next month. For those who enroll between the 16th to the end of the month, coverage begins the first of the following month [example - January 16 - 31 starts March 1])

The University of Virginia issued a press release last week about a survey it conducted on people enrolling in health care using Healthcare.gov. The statistics were interesting, but not surprising: people with more education found it easier to navigate the website, although many were frustrated by the well documented glitches early on.

What our local media did not do was connect the dots. The Greater Charlottesville Health Care Coalition was formed precisely because local nonprofits and health care providers were concerned about their patients and clients understanding even the basics of how health insurance works. That is why they created the simple and informative website, CvilleEnrolls.org.

CVille Enrolls website header

Coalition partners JABA (434-817-5239) and ASG (434-979-7714) all have staff trained as Certified Application Counselors. Federal "Navigators" are also available locally to help enroll (434-220-1496) and offer language assistance.

In our office, Jessie Ray, Coalition Coordinator and also a Certified Application Counselor, has been meeting with people on a regular basis to answer questions and help them enroll online. She reports that it is getting easier and easier as Healthcare.gov continues to improve. Coalition members can also help those who have previously tried to enroll but failed, to fix their application glitches and get enrolled.

So visit CvilleEnrolls.org to get answers to your questions about the Affordable Care Act and what it means for you. If you need more assistance, call Jessie Ray, Coalition Coordinator, at 434-972-1702. Tell your friends, neighbors and co-workers that there is local help available,even if you have already begun enrollment and have run into problems.


Posted by: Kim Connolly

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