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Federal funds to help WV Navigator reach vulnerable groups for health care - West Virginia MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — New federal funding is going to help a West Virginia non-profit reach thousands of uninsured state residents sign up for Obamacare.

Jeremy Smith

West Virginia Navigator has provided free enrollment assistance since 2015. The organization will receive $1 million per year for the next three years from the Biden administration.

“It’s actually 10 times the amount of funding that we’ve been operating at,” said program director Jeremy Smith.

Smith said the money will enable them to reach under-served populations such as those struggling with substance abuse, minorities, LGBTQ people and those in rural areas.

“There’s a lot of different groups that are uninsured at a higher rate, so what we plan on doing with this extra funding is being able to go out and do more community outreach,” he said.

The funding will also allow WV Navigator to hire additional Health Insurance Navigators and open offices in Huntington, Fairmont, and Martinsburg, in addition to the current office in Charleston.

“Two Navigators will be in each office and will able to help the community that surrounds us,” Smith said.

Anyone who is not eligible for insurance through Medicare, Medicaid or employer-based insurance is eligible to purchase insurance under the Affordable Care Act’s provisions. WV Navigator assists people with the process of selecting a plan and applying for subsidies.

According to the organization, about 9 in 10 of those who enroll receive subsidies to make the insurance more affordable. About 4 in 10 people who sign up get a plan for less than $10 per month.

The new funding comes ahead of open enrollment for ACA-subsidized Marketplace insurance which will be Nov. 1, 2021 through Jan. 15, 2022.

“We already have our phone line in place, so we’re able to go ahead and talk to people, make appointments and get them prepped for what they’ll need for open enrollment,” Smith said.

WV Navigator can be reached by calling (304)-356-5834 or online at www.acanavigator.com.