For those having trouble negotiating the new world of acquiring health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, Ohio University has stepped up to help.
The OU Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine has announced the hiring of a certified insurance application counselor and ACA navigator.
Americans had until Dec. 24 to sign up for health-insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, for plans that kick in beginning Jan. 1. On Monday, that deadline was extended until midnight Christmas Eve.
The health-care insurance marketplace will continue to be open but plans with coverage starting in January will no longer be available.
"In an effort to help southeast Ohio residents and small business owners better understand their health insurance options through the Health Insurance Marketplace, the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Community Health Programs has an Affordable Care Act Insurance Navigator and a Certified Application Counselor on staff," a release from the college said Monday.
Navigator Justin Kendrick is available to members of the university community but also to southeast Ohio residents and business owners in general, the release said.
"Following implementation of the Affordable Care Act and expansion of the state's Medicaid program, many more Ohioans became eligible for health-insurance coverage," it said. "The navigator and application counselor can help these individuals understand what qualified health plans are available to them and can walk them through the entire process, from registration to enrollment."
Linda Knopp, associate director of communications for the medical school, said Monday that as far as OUHCOM knows, Kendrick is the only such navigator in southeast Ohio.
President Barack Obama has received intense criticism over the rollout of his health-care plan website in October. Aside from the website, the ACA has been the center of much debate since it was passed in 2009, with the government shutdown in October having been caused due to demands from some Republicans to repeal the law.
The White House announced Monday that though he receives health insurance through the military, President Obama signed up for a low-cost bronze plan through the District of Columbia insurance exchange.
"Southeast Ohio residents and small business owners can call 740-593-0828 or email ACANavigator@ohio.edu with questions or to schedule an appointment," the release from OUHCOM said. "All services are free and confidential."
The release added that these services have been made possible by support from the Ohio Association for Free Clinics.