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Reduced health care enrollment assistance, advertising campaigns leave families in the dark

Posted at 10:20 PM, Oct 31, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS – As thousands of Hoosiers in need of health insurance learn the enrollment period has been shortened, they’re also becoming aware of fewer resources available to help them sort through coverage options.

The number of navigators, people who help others select health care plans, has been cut for 2018 by 82 percent – leaving many families to choose premiums on their own. 

The cuts have also impacted funding for advertising that help spread the word about enrollment dates and eligibility. 

Kimberly, a wife and mother of two children said after previewing plans on Healthcare.gov, she learned her premiums could cost about $300. Although she isn’t certain she can obtain insurance on the marketplace, she said her husband’s employer offers the option – however, the premium would cost $1,200 a month.

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"At the silver, which is what I would be able to afford on a monthly basis, I will pay double what I did last year,” she said. "That's where it gets really muddled and really, if you don't know what you're doing, you're going to end up paying a lot of money."

The Indiana Primary Health Care Association reduced its staff of navigators by from 10 to one. HealthNet’s outreach team was also cut from 10 to two people.

"We had consumers coming to the health centers telling them we didn't know you guys were here, thank you for reaching out to us. Which goes to show the need and demand is still there,” said Jessica Ellis with the Indiana Primary Health Care Association.

The health care marketplace will open November 1 through December 15. 

Documents needed to sign up for coverage can vary from person-to-person, but items can be found at Healthcare.gov

To sign up, you’ll need:

  • Yearly income estimate: Can include federal or state tax return, wages and tax statement, such as a W-2; pay stub; self-employment ledger documentation, like a Schedule C; Social Security benefits letter; unemployment benefits letter.
  • Immigration status: such as Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) or Reentry permit
  • Citizenship: such as U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship

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