United Way of Anchorage Lead Healthcare Navigator Jane Straight was our guest today on Morning Line. She says Navigators are federally certified helpers for consumers looking for health care coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act.
Healthcare.gov is still the place to go to but a few things have changed.
Straight says the enrollment period for people looking to get coverage has changed - it's shortened to November 1st through December 15th, and that change is partly by design. "The enrollment period is shorter, and that's come about a year earlier than originally planned."
She says the Healthcare Marketplace may look a little different, but despite all the noise in the press to the contrary nationally, Alaskan healthcare coverage isn't hard to get. "There is this expansion of the Medicaid part of the Affordable Care Act for Alaska," Straight credits the State of Alaska for pursuing the State Innovation Waivers.
Straight says healthcare.gov is the same place to apply for Medicaid or for Insurance coverage - it sorts it our for the consumer. She advises folks who don't have coverage right now to try the site out. "One of the worst things that can happen is for people to find out they could've had coverage but didn't try."
Getting in person help is also something Straight stresses, "The easiest way to get a hold of a Healthcare Navigator is to phone 2-1-1, and see where Navigators are in the your community, whether here in Anchorage or elsewhere in the state."