Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment begins November 1

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CHEYENNE, Wyo - Enroll Wyoming navigators will continue to support Wyoming residents during Open Enrollment and will be available to provide individual assistance during the Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment period, which runs from November 1 through December 15, 2018.

Although there have been changes in funding for the navigator grantee Enroll Wyoming, local assisters remain committed to helping folks explore their health insurance options. “This year, we have had to rely more on our existing partners to help with marketing. We have encouraged them to start the initial enrollment conversation within their communities,” stated Caleb, an Enroll Wyoming navigator. “We will continue to travel and we have assisters all over the state from various organizations who will be providing in-person assistance as we have in the past. Folks may dial 2-1-1 to get connected,” continues Caleb.

In Laramie County, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center’s Financial Navigation department has stepped in to ensure that Laramie County residents have plenty opportunities to receive in-person enrollment assistance both at the hospital and within the community throughout open enrollment. “Not only are we certified navigators with the navigator grant, but we are CRMC staff members who assist community members and patients year round with not only their health insurance options and enrollment, but with enrolling in other public benefits and community resource programs,” stated Monica Jennings, Navigator.

During the last open enrollment period, 24,529 Wyomingites signed up for coverage and effectuated their health plans. Last year, in Laramie County alone, Enroll Wyoming navigators held 135 in-person enrollment assistance events (including individual appointments and marketing meetings) during the 45 day window to enroll. There are already more than 13 events (not counting individual appointments) within the county scheduled.

“We want Laramie County residents to know that we will be present both in the community and at the hospital to assist them with the health insurance enrollment process again this year,” Jennings said. “We will be meeting with folks during the day at the hospital from 7am to 5pm, during most Tuesday evenings during open enrollment at the hospital from 5:30pm to 7:30pm, and most Thursdays and Saturdays at the Laramie County Library among other locations in the community,” continued Jennings.

The first enrollment event in Laramie County will kick off at the Laramie County Library, Thursday, November 1, 2018, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm in the computer classroom. As in years past, everyone one is encouraged to see if they qualify for cost assistance and other discounts through the Health Insurance Marketplace. This year although there is no penalty for not having coverage during the year 2019, navigators encourage consumers to consider their expected and unexpected health needs and get enrolled.

Five Tips to Prepare for Open Enrollment

1. Ask questions. Many people want to know if they will qualify for health insurance plan discounts. People can dial 2-1-1 now to speak with a navigator and check their eligibility.

2. Set up an account/access existing accounts. In order to apply for health insurance through the Marketplace, individuals need to set up an account on www.healthcare.gov by clicking on “ log in” at the top right on the home screen and by then clicking on “create an account.” Account creation requires an email address. People may dial 2-1-1 to connect with a navigator who can assist with setting up an account. People with an existing healthcare.gov account are encouraged to log in now and be sure they know their password to avoid waiting on the phone line during open enrollment to reset passwords. If a password needs to be reset, people may call 1-800-318-2596 for help.

3. Collect the information needed to complete the application. Navigators will not ask to see personal identifiable information (PII) during enrollment events. Residents who wish to enroll need to know birth dates, social security numbers, expected income for 2019 before taxes and whether or not their employer offers health insurance coverage to complete the application. It is also helpful to make a list of any medications, specific doctors, health clinics and hospitals that will be used for health care for 2019 and to bring this list to an enrollment event.

4. Plan to attend an enrollment event now. Wyoming 2-1-1 continues to maintain the calendar and travel schedule for Enroll Wyoming navigators. People may dial 2-1-1 or 888-425-7138 from a land line or cell phone to speak with a navigator and find out when a navigator will be in their community. Wyoming residents may also visit www.wyoming211.org and click on the “Enroll Wyoming” link to the left of the page to view the calendar themselves.

5. Enroll/re-enroll early. Open enrollment begins November 1, 2018. Those needing coverage for 2019 must enroll by December 15, 2018. Most of the nation will be enrolling on healthcare.gov at the same time. To avoid lines and long wait times, attend an enrollment event in November and complete enrollment early.

6. If residents attempt to enroll independently, be cautious of false enrollment websites. Healthcare.gov is the ONLY correct website. Check your screen BEFORE entering your phone number. You cannot enter a phone number without creating an account and beginning an application. If it does not say healthcare.gov at the top left of the screen, it’s not correct. If you are concerned, you may dial 2-1-1 to speak with a navigator or contact the Wyoming Department of Insurance at 307-777-7401.