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Affordable Care Act:Countdown To Coverage Navigators: They enroll you

Affordable Care Act:Countdown To Coverage Navigators: They enroll you

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CHARLESTON, SC -

725 thousand people in South Carolina have no health insurance. That is approximately, 19 percent of the population of the state.

When Tuesday October 1st rolls around, hundreds of thousand of South Carolinians will be able to purchase insurance through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace.

The marketplace allows uninsured and under insured people to buy insurance coverage.

The federal government is training and paying people called Navigators to help consumers through the process.

Godlee Davis of DECO Recovery Management says Navigators are trained to help consumers figure out what fits a person's needs and budget.

"The navigators actually do the enrollment into qualified health plans," Davis said.

Davis also said that Navigators will play a key role in the success of the health insurance marketplace. She said they will be in community centers, churches, even emergency rooms

"Onsite at hospitals and doing bedside interviews with patients to figure out what's the best option for them so what program is available to them educating them on it and assisting them through the application process," Davis said.

The Obama administration awarded 1-point-2 million dollar grant to DECO and Benefit Bank of South Carolina to train people to become navigators.

The goal is to reach the 726 thousand South Carolinians who could potentially use the marketplace.

Andrew Foland of DECO Recovery Management says it boils down to $1.65 per person.

"The funds are not that significant so the ability to engage people that are already on the ground and facilitating services for their communities it's a cornerstone for what we are attempting to do with our plan for to get people engaged." Foland says.

By federal law, Navigators can't say that one health plan is better than another. but they can show people the information available to help them make a decision.

Davis says certified application counselors are helpful and will answer important questions...but the difference is that a navigator can actually enroll you in the health insurance marketplace.

"The certified application counselors are helping people often that come to them. But that is the responsibility of a navigator," Davis said.

 

The Executive Director for the Benefit Bank of South Carolina encourages people to find a convenient benefit bank location-and let a trained navigator in one of those locations guide you through the process.

 

"They are going to work with us and we are going to work with deco for all of these plans. They are going to be the expert in all of those plans, " said Tricia Richardson

The federal health care reform law establishes financial penalties for people who don't purchase a health insurance plan next year, but the maximum fine in 2014 is $95. There is no criminal penalty.

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