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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Need Health Insurance? AZ Enrollment Reopens for 'Bidencare' Coverage

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Tuesday, February 16, 2021   

TUCSON, Ariz. -- It was originally nicknamed "Obamacare."

But a lot of people are now calling it "Bidencare," because President Joe Biden has reopened the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to help Arizonans and others who lost health insurance during the pandemic.

Registration for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace is now available through May 15.

Health-care experts estimate 85% of eligible applicants will qualify for financial assistance with their premiums, and many also will qualify for help with deductibles and co-pays.

Allen Gjerfvig, director of navigator and enrollment services for Cover Arizona, said the Biden administration is restoring a key part of the program to publicize the special enrollment period.

"The new administration is going to put $50 million into marketing and advertising to help people understand that they have an opportunity if they're uninsured to get covered," Gjerfvig explained.

The Trump administration tried but failed to eliminate the ACA, although it did cut funding for key parts of the plan, including money for information and registration assistance.

Biden promised during the 2020 campaign to expand and improve the program.

Gjerfvig noted at the start of 2020, about 1 in 10 Arizonans did not have health insurance, and job losses caused by the pandemic may have increased that number.

He added people who need coverage should go online and shop around.

"There are thousands of people in Arizona that could get a free Bronze plan," Gjerfvig pointed out. "Their financial assistance for the premium would be 100% covered and they would also be receiving help to reduce those out-of-pocket expenses."

Gjerfvig emphasized his group, Cover Arizona, is geared up to assist Arizonans during the special enrollment period, and as they say, operators are standing by.

"We also hold the only health-insurance navigator grant in the state," Gjerfvig stressed. "We work with 180 different sites through our community health centers that all have certified application counselors."

You can enroll directly with the Health Insurance Marketplace directly at healthcare.gov. If you need assistance, contact Cover Arizona and talk with a volunteer, or if you prefer, set up a face-to-face meeting.

Call 800-377-3536 or go to CoverAZ.org.


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