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Health care navigators help Alaskans with open enrollment

Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 10:20 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The United Way of Anchorage is helping Alaskans make choices when it comes to health care coverage. Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act started Nov. 1, 2021 and ends Jan. 15, 2022.

Director of income/health impact with the United Way, Jane Straight, is one of several people certified by the federal government to assist Alaskans sign up for coverage and answer questions.

“One of the exciting things this year is that there are a lot more cost savings than ever before so we’re really trying to get people the message that if you’ve checked it out before and you weren’t sure it was for you, come and check it out again this year,” Straight said. “More people qualify for savings and for more savings than ever in the past.”

She also said about 10-12% of Alaskans don’t have any of coverage at all.

“We’re trying to reach people who don’t have any other option; they don’t have insurance offered at their job, they don’t have some other type of coverage, this could be a really good option for them,” Straight said. “We all know how high medical costs are, and that’s just the thing, I think sometimes we tend to think well I’m really healthy, I’ll just go a long without insurance. But as well know, life is unpredictable and so something unexpected could happen and you could end up with a really large medical bill.”

Funding for the grant was expanded this year, so now healthcare navigators are available in Fairbanks, the Matanuska-Susitna region and Kenai Peninsula, in addition to those in Anchorage.

The healthcare navigator service is free and accessible by calling 2-1-1, the United Way’s statewide helpline. You can also text “GetCoveredAK” to 898-211 or call 1 (800) 478-2221.

“We think everybody should have some type of coverage. You just don’t know when something unexpected could happen and it could be a real financial hit, and so we find folks who don’t know that there are affordable options for purchasing insurance on your own,” said Straight. “When you’re buying your own insurance on the healthcare.gov website, that’s where a navigator can come in, help you sort out how to compare and make a choice.”

For Anchorage dates:

.J. Loussac Public Library: Raven Room

Navigators will be available at the Loussac Library in the raven room on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-5 p.m. from Nov. 2 through Jan. 13 and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 6 and Nov. 20, Dec. 4 Dec. 18, and Jan. 15, 2022.

Navigators will be at the Mountain View library in the community room on Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. on Nov. 13, Dec. 11, and Jan. 8, 2022

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