Navigators Offer Health Care Advice to Uninsured Missourians

4 years 7 months 4 weeks ago Saturday, November 16 2013 Nov 16, 2013 Saturday, November 16, 2013 2:33:00 PM CST November 16, 2013 in News
By: Rachel Wittel, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - The Daniel Boone Regional Library hosted an event Saturday to assist uninsured Missourians and help them enroll in the Missouri Health Insurance Marketplace.

Navigator Program Manager at Primaris Jeremy Milarsky said most people just want to see where they stand financially in the marketplace.

"This is the time for people to kind of deliberate about where they are in their family budget and what kind of health plan they're looking for in terms of coverage," Milarsky said. "Navigators and certified counselors are able to look up plans, determine people's income and what they might have in terms of ability to pay, and what kind of help they might be eligible for in pay."

He said most people who are uninsured in Missouri will have some kind of help paying for their health coverage.

"Nationally, it's about six in 10 people will have access to plans that are less than $100 dollars a month," Milarsky said. "Here, in Missouri, it's about four in 10, so if you have five people in a room that are eligible for the marketplace, two of them have access to a bronze plan, that is $0 per month."

Milarsky said two major insurers selling marketplace plans in this area of the state are Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Coventry Health Care.

Milarsky also said these insurers have to offer preventive care, which means they provide an annual checkup that does not cost anything, and they all have to offer one of 10 categories of central health benefits. He said that means they have to have some kind of coverage for hospitals, ambulance and medicine coverage, as well as some sort of plan for child, dental and vision coverage.

To find out what plans are available to you, the service is free, and Milarsky said personal information is kept private.

"If you want to know what all this is about, what plans are available to you, what kind of help you can get in terms of paying, navigators can help you do that," Milarsky said. "This coalition is committed toward keeping people's information private and keeping people's information honest. We do not engage in any kind of fraud."

Although the healthcare website is the main tool to enroll, Milarsky said his coalition does not need it to help out.

"People have until December 15 to enroll and have coverage by January 1. People have until March 31 to enroll without any kind of tax penalty," Milarsky said. "We don't need the website to tell you where you stand."

About a dozen people showed up by noon, and each appointment lasted about an hour.

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