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Health help in Saratoga

Wyoming Health Navigators at Saratoga Library helped enroll individuals and explained healthcare options

 


Navigators traveling Wyoming to assist residents with health care and health insurance options came to Saratoga Jan. 9.

Enroll Wyoming Navigators came to Saratoga to answer queries prior to the Open Enrollment deadline Jan. 31. After that date, open enrollment will end until 2018, if the program survives a planned repeal by the Donald Trump administration and a Republican Congress.

No plans to replace the insurance subsidies currently in place have been revealed, meaning this may be the last year the public will have access to subsidized insurance.

“We have worked with so many people in the state with dire health needs. Knowing that the lack of health insurance is a barrier for access to quality and sustained care, our mission remains the same—to educate, to assist, to connect, and to enroll,” explains Monica Jennings, an Enroll Wyoming Navigator.

Wyoming residents have been enrolling for health insurance through the Marketplace since Nov. 1. Enroll Wyoming navigators continue to assist individuals and families with their health insurance questions and enrollments. As of Dec. 8, Enroll Wyoming Navigators had helped 5,740 Wyoming residents make health insurance decisions. More than 17,000 Wyoming residents (not counting auto-reenrollments) had enrolled in a plan via healthcare.gov as of Dec. 15. Navigators have formally partnered with and/or worked with more than 100 local organizations/agencies across the state to get people health insurance coverage and access to care by making referrals and connecting folks to care within their communities. These agencies include, Federally Qualified Health Centers (clinics), educational programs, legal aide, Wyoming Senior Citizens, Inc., Wyoming Medication Donation Program, and more.

Enroll Wyoming cautions that the individual shared responsibility payment is still effective for 2017. If you can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it, you must pay a fee called the individual shared responsibility payment. The fee is also called a “penalty,” “fine,” or “individual mandate.”

There will be a shared responsibility payment for not having health insurance in 2017 under current law. It is $695 per uninsured adult in the home or 2.5 percent of the annual income, whichever is higher. The penalty for uninsured children in the home is $347.50 per child.

Insurance companies have entered into a contract with consumers to provide health coverage for the year 2017. No one knows at this time what 2018 will entail.

Tom Price, President-Elect Trump’s pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services, has repeatedly tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and Congressional Republicans have yet to unveil specific plans for replacing the program if repealed.

After Open Enrollment ends on Jan. 31, consumers are not eligible to select a plan through healthcare.gov unless they qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

The tax credit significantly absorbs the insurance rate increase for Wyoming residents. Consumers see minimal increase in their premium cost if they are enrolled with cost assistance.

The only site that offers plans with cost assistance is http://www.healthcare.gov.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming remains the only insurance carrier on the Marketplace for 2017 coverage. They offer 28 different plans and prices.

All assistance from Navigators is free of charge.

If consumers could not attend the Jan. 9 event, they may schedule an appointment by dialing 2-1-1.

Plans offered on the Health Insurance Marketplace are Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) that meet the standards of current law. All plans cover doctor visits, prescriptions and hospital stays. These QHPs also cover preventive and wellness services at no additional cost, such as screenings and vaccines. These plans will be continued throughout 2017 as long as consumers continue to pay premiums.

Trained and certified Navigators and counselors may be reached by dialing 2-1-1. Consumers may also visit Enroll Wyoming’s Facebook page and/or website. You may also explore http://www.healthcare.gov or http://www.cuidadodesalud.gov

 

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