As the complex Affordable Care Act takes effect, many people are confused about what the law means for them.
Thanks to federal grants awarded to the United Way of Anchorage and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, "navigators" will help people make sense of the new law starting Tuesday, Oct. 1.
Tuesday is also the first day of open enrollment for the the individual mandate of ACA.
"This is a new language for most," said Susan Johnson of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "Don’t hurry and get over it like taking a shot or something. Enjoy the shopping."Joan Fisher, one of four United Way navigators, says her role is to offer people unbiased advice about the health insurance marketplace in a one-on-one setting.
“I’ve been spending the last few weeks getting trained and getting certification and also hiring other navigators,” Fisher said. “I’m going to navigate them to what probably would be the best plan for them depending on their circumstances.”
Fisher is located at Providence Hospital, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
What’s required to be assisted is tax information or a current pay stub, a social security number and date of birth.
“This type of conversation that happens with consumers needs to be with someone they trust, they’re going to be sharing information that is confidential to them,” said Sue Brogan with United Way of Anchorage.
Alaskans can also speak directly with specialists by dialing 2-1-1, a free and confidential line operated by United Way of Anchorages and the human services information line.
Online enrollment for people who want to purchase health insurance by Jan. 1, 2014, will be open through Dec. 15.Open enrollment closes March 31, 2014.