Niagara Gazette — If you find yourself a little confused about the Affordable Care Act and what’s available to you, the new health care law provides for health care “in-person assisters/navigators” – who can explain how to sign up, point out the differences in the health insurance plans available and guide people and small businesses in setting up coverage.
For Niagara County, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center was awarded a grant last summer from the New York State Department of Health to serve as a navigator agency to help consumers apply for health insurance through NY State of Health, the official state health plan marketplace.
The marketplace also offers financial assistance provided by the federal government to lower the cost of health coverage. Individuals and families may also qualify for free or low-cost coverage from Medicaid or Child Health Plus. Anyone who needs health coverage can apply.
Individuals, families and small businesses can get information and enroll in a plan either online at nystateofhealth.ny.gov, by calling toll-free at 1-855-355-5777.
Or they can set up a meeting in-person with a navigator by calling 278-4264 or emailing email@example.com. It’s free but appointments are required.
Navigators are based throughout the county, including Niagara Falls Memorial, Lewiston Town Hall, Wheatfield Community Center, United Way of Greater Niagara on Inducon Drive West in Sanborn, and the Doris W. Jones Family Resource Center in the Falls.
Here are a few of the common questions the navigators get, along with some answers from the navigators themselves.
Q: How long can the registration process take when someone is sitting in your office?
A: The enrollment process is anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes.
Q: What should someone bring with them when they have an appointment with a navigator?
A: We will need any and all tax return information, such as 1040s, W2s, any type of income statement, in some cases, we do need pay stubs, passports or drivers licenses, social security number, date of birth; for all members in the tax household. Rent, S/E filing, business expenses, deductions, etc.