charleston — West Virginia residents who are interested in free help to learn how they might enroll or re-enroll in health insurance under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have a free local resource available to them. West Virginia Navigator is a nonprofit project that received grant funding from the federal government to help West Virginia residents select a health insurance plan.

Open enrollment for 2020 will be now through Dec. 15. West Virginia residents can call 304-356-5834 to reserve a telephone appointment.

First Choice Services, working under a cooperative agreement with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, created the program in order to provide information about how the health insurance Marketplace operates. They will discuss plan options and pricing and can help complete enrollments over the phone. This year, they are also offering a telehealth option that will allow applicants to see completion of their enrollment in real time. There is no charge for enrollment assistance.

Jeremy Smith, program director for West Virginia Navigator, says that this service is important because many people are confused by the options and end up choosing the wrong type of plan.

“This time of year, people are bombarded with ads for health insurance., Smith said. “Some are legitimate, but some are not. We are grant-funded, so we have no profit motive.”

Financial help is available when signing up for health insurance through the Marketplace. Last year eight out of ten applicants qualified for financial help. New plans and prices are available this year and those with current Marketplace coverage should pick a new plan or re-enroll by Dec. 15 to prevent a lapse in coverage.

More information is available

at ACAnavigator.com.

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