Anyone without insurance next year could face a penalty. In about five hours, people can start signing up for insurance through the new Affordable Care Act. It's set up for people who are under-insured or don't have insurance. But the plan has several layers and can be difficult for some to understand. Dee Griffin has information on a government funded program that has trained people to educate the public on the Affordable Care Act.
"I love making sure that I educate people so that they can make an executive decision about their health care," explains Community Outreach Manager Terri Gant.
That passion has gained a new purpose as time winds down to start the government's Affordable Care Act. Gant is one of several local people called "navigators" who will help thousands make their way through the maze of information on what's called the " Health Insurance Marketplace." "I actually started my navigation training about two weeks ago," Gant adds.
That training will allow Gant to help under insured, and non insured, patients steer their way through the new health insurance plans as prescribed through the Affordable Care Act. Navigators are also able to point potential insurance buyers to tools like KFF.org. Here people can go to the subsidy calculator to view their options and see how much each plan would cost if selected.
Meanwhile, navigators are resources to answer questions that may seem murky upon first glance at a computer. Questions like, should unemployed people apply for the insurance? "Our recommendation is that they still go out and apply and see what they may potentially quality for," says Gant.
Many people in the CSRA are on Medicare. While they don't need to do anything, Navigators are guiding Medicare patients toward possible extra benefits under the new program. Gant says, "some people have a donut hole in their Medicare and that's going to assist them with some of those out of pocket expenses. There's going to be some credits that they'll be able to take advantage of out there."
By helping others, Gant says she's getting the biggest advantage of all. "I realize I really like it. So I found my niche. I really love being a community partner and serving the under served families," says Gant.
You can show your support for people who don't have insurance. A free 3k "walk for the uninsured" is planned for Wednesday and Thursday morning. Both walks will be from 7am to 8am at the Marriott Augusta River Walk Trail.
Also, anyone who signs up for the Affordable Care Act insurance must pay their premium by December 14th in order to have their insurance activated for January 1st.
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