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Navigators and Counselors Talk About Insurance Options

October 11, 2013

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Spreading the word and hooking folks up with reliable resources is an ongoing project under health care reform, and a meeting Thursday in Pierre sought to help those involved in the insurance sign-ups learn how to best help consumers.

The Community HealthCare Association of the Dakotas sponsored the event, and CEO Linda Ross said navigators, certified application counselors and others reviewed the insurance offerings.

"A short synopsis of what their plans are on the marketplace,” she explained, “so that these folks as they are helping consumers have some basic knowledge of what the differences are with regards to those plans and companies."

The health insurance marketplace at HealthCare.gov went on line last week, allowing people to sign up for insurance coverage that begins in January.

South Dakota did not set up its own state-based exchange, allowing instead the federal government to run the site.

There have been some technical issues with insurance sign-ups on the website because so many people have tried to log in, but Ross said despite that, her organization has been able to walk consumers through the process.

"They are talking with folks face-to-face and providing them paper applications, enrollment applications," she explained. "But they're not able to go through those steps on the website at this point because there has been limited access to that at the moment."

Ross added Community HealthCare Association hopes to help those working with consumers get the information they need to make the sign up process easier, and there's plenty of time to complete the process – through Dec. 15.

"The navigators and the certified application counselors are being contacted by consumers,” she said. “There is a lot of interest and they want to know and want to get on the system so they can start that process."

She added that Community Health Care Centers are an essential part of health care reform.


Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD