Local health care and community service organizations are banding together to help consumers navigate the process of enrolling in the new public health insurance Marketplace (i.e. exchanges). Starting October 1, individuals can apply for health insurance using the federal Marketplace, where they can shop for health plans in their area. Depending on their income, they can be enrolled in Wisconsin BadgerCare or a private plan through the federal Marketplace. The open enrollment period lasts for six months, with coverage starting as soon as January 1, 2014. The last day to enroll for January coverage is December 15th.
“The Affordable Care Act marks a big change in how some individuals and families will access health insurance,” says Matt Luders of Ministry Door County Medical Center. “We know that change can be hard, and we want to help people understand their options and make the best choices for their families.” Certified application counselors (CACs) at a variety of organizations will, by appointment, meet with individuals to provide support to consumers enrolling in the Marketplace.
Joanne Ator, Economic Support Manager at the Door County Department of Human Services, believes it’s important for the county’s providers to work together in helping individuals and families get the health insurance they need. “We have a great history of working collaboratively in Door County. In order to help people enroll in BadgerCare or the federal Marketplace, we have put together a system where there is no wrong door.” Ator anticipates that some parents will transfer their coverage from BadgerCare to a Marketplace plan, and that other adults without minor children will become eligible for BadgerCare in January. “All of these community organizations can help people get to the right place for their health insurance needs,” she says.
Consumers are encouraged to begin their research by visiting healthcare.gov, the official site of the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. The Door County Library system and the Door County Job Center both offer access to computers for beginning the research process. For people desiring further guidance, the following organizations offer one-on-one counseling.
Ministry Door County Medical Center
Type of Assistance: One-on-one
Who is eligible for help? Any resident of Door or Kewaunee counties
Call: (920) 743-3707 to schedule an appointment Mon.- Fri. 8-4:30
Community Clinic of Door County, Inc.
Type of Assistance: One-on-one assistance at the Sister Bay and Sturgeon Bay clinic sites
Who is eligible for help? Anyone in the community
Call: (920) 746-8989 ext. 101 to schedule an appointment Mon.-Thurs. 10-5
Door County Dept. of Human Services-Economic Support Unit
Type of Assistance: Answers to BadgerCare questions and referral to community partners for one-to-one assistance in enrolling in private Marketplace plans
Who is eligible for help? Any Door County BadgerCare recipients/potential recipients, or those who need information about BadgerCare or the Federal Marketplace
Call: (920) 746-2300 Mon.-Fri. 8:30-4
Current BadgerCare clients can call the Change and Information Center at 1-888-794-5747
In addition to the application services above, the League of Women Voters of Door County will present a panel discussion titled “Affordable Care Act: Learn what affordable health care can do for you,” on Thurs. October 17 from 6-8 p.m. The discussion, held at Bay View Lutheran Church in Sturgeon Bay, will include representatives from Aurora Health Care, Ministry Door County Medical Center, and the Community Clinic of Door County.