>>The health insurance exchanges open on October 1, but if you’re waiting for your state government to help you understand >>what an exchange is and what it could mean for you, you’ll be waiting for a really long time.
State leaders have shown no interest in promoting any aspects of the Affordable Care Act (you know, the law that’s >>already working to keep health insurance costs down). Fortunately, the federal government is stepping up to help get the word out.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services just awarded $3 million to four North Carolina groups to help educate people throughout the state about their new insurance options. Most of that money– nearly $2 million– will go to >>North Carolina Community Care Networks, a statewide consortium of community organizations that work with Medicaid patients. With those funds, the NC Community Care Networks will train 40 navigators, who will help consumers with their insurance applications and educated communities about the exchange.
But it looks like the need for education on the insurance exchange overwhelms what 40 or even 100 navigators could manage. >>A recent poll in California found that of uninsured, lower-income voters who qualify for coverage, slightly more than half either did not know they qualified or believed the opposite— that they were not eligible. And the California state government supports Obamacare! There’s every reason to believe awareness in North Carolina is much lower.
Here’s the most important thing you and anyone you know who doesn’t get insurance through an employer need to know: the insurance exchange opens on October 1, and that’s when you can go to >>healthcare.gov to find out about your coverage options and whether you qualify for a subsidy to help pay for coverage. Mark it on your calendar!