An exciting moment in the history of our country has arrived, and we need your help. North Carolina’s new federally-facilitated Health Insurance Marketplace is opening on October 1. For an initial six-month enrollment period, individuals and families who have faced living without health insurance will be able to enroll in affordable health coverage through the Marketplace. Any eligible family or individual with an income below 4 times the Federal Poverty Level will receive a tax credit (made available immediately upon enrollment) to make health coverage possible without breaking the bank.
To receive these benefits, those who are uninsured need to know about and understand how the process works. They will be reaching out for assistance when they are ready to enroll. Some help is already available. The Federal Government extended grant money to four Navigator entities, tasking them with conducting outreach and education about the Marketplace and assisting consumers with enrollment. Other organizations are volunteering their time and resources to serve as Certified Application Counselor organizations, to which consumers can come for help with enrolling. Enroll America, a national outreach organization, created for the sole purpose of telling people about the new ways to get insurance, is active in NC working to get the word out.
The fact remains, it’s still not enough. Approximately 1.5 million people live in NC without health insurance, and we want as many of those as possible to hear about and have the opportunity to enroll in affordable health coverage. The Navigators, Certified Application Counselor organizations, and Enroll America need your help to make this exciting moment become an historical moment–one we will look back on with pride and be able to say that we were part of the movement to ensure that all Americans are able to afford to go to the doctor and get treatment for their illnesses.
Please consider volunteering your time to spread the word and help individuals and families get enrolled. There are a few options to choose from:
(1) Contact a Navigator agency near you to become a Navigator volunteer.
- Email Navigator@n3cn.org and someone will respond with contact information for the Navigator program in your community.
(2) Contact a local Certified Application Counselor (CAC) organization to be trained as a CAC. Local contact information will be provided when it is available. In the meantime, interested individuals can call the federal marketplace number to learn more: 1-800-318-2596.
(3) Get involved with Enroll America to help others learn about the Health Insurance Marketplace coming October 1 and open until March 31, 2014.
–Lauren Chesson, MSW Intern