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KY Assisters Help Residents Navigate Healthcare.gov Open Enrollment

Across Kentucky, application assisters are helping residents enroll in heath plans through healthcare.gov. (Adobe Stock)
Across Kentucky, application assisters are helping residents enroll in heath plans through healthcare.gov. (Adobe Stock)
December 11, 2019

PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Open enrollment for health coverage through healthcare.gov ends next week, and application assisters say they are still available to help residents figure out what plans are right for them.

Georgia Funk is outreach and enrollment coordinator at Big Sandy Health Care in Pikeville. She says many eastern Kentucky residents are still not aware they can enroll.

"I get a lot of people, they're not eligible for Medicaid, and they are not eligible for Medicare,” says Funk. “They're in that gap. But, you know, they've worked their whole life, and they are at a point where they can't work any more but they are not old enough to get Medicare yet."

Open enrollment for qualified health plans runs through Sunday. Information on speaking with a local application assister can be found on the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange website, at healthbenefitexchange.ky.gov.

Funk says internet access remains a barrier to enrollment.

"A lot of them don't have internet access and a lot of them don't know how to actually use the internet,” says Funk.

Because plans and costs of premiums may change each year, Funk says Kentuckians would benefit from a longer open-enrollment period to give families enough time to navigate the system. She adds that while healthcare.gov is a potentially life-saving resource, she sees fewer people taking advantage of it.

"I've been in health care for 18 to 20 years, and I've watched it go down tremendously,” says Funk. “And every year it just keeps getting worse."

Funk notes that meeting with a certified application assister is free, and points out assisters are trained to help with the initial application, answer questions, explain options, assist with enrollments and more.

Disclosure: Kentucky Voices for Health contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - KY