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Appalachia Health News tells the story of our health challenges and how we overcome them throughout the region. 

Jan. 15 Deadline For Healthcare.gov Sign Ups

Mental health care advocates say patients face challenges in insurance coverage.
iStockphoto
Mental health care advocates say patients face challenges in insurance coverage.

Saturday, Jan. 15 is the last day to enroll in a health insurance plan on healthcare.gov.

Anyone that doesn’t have insurance through their employer or programs like Medicare and Medicaid can get covered through the federal marketplace. The plans are meant to be affordable, since they’re subsidized by federal dollars.

“If they miss that deadline and don't get enrolled, they may not be able to get coverage again until 2023,” said Jeremy Smith with WV Navigator. The federally funded, non-profit can help anyone choose and enroll in a health insurance plan.

“This is a free program. There's no pressure to point you in one direction or another. It's just a service to the community to help you get all your questions answered.”

WV Navigator has offices in Charleston, Barboursville, Fairmont and Martinsburg. Offices are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. everyday. Anyone can call 304-356-5834 for assistance over the phone or to schedule an appointment.

Walk-in, sign up events are scheduled this week throughout the state:

  • Bridgeport Conference Center from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 11
  • Holiday Inn in Martinsburg from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12
  • Bible Center Church in Charleston from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14

Plans are cheaper and more people are eligible than ever before due to COVID-19 relief funding.

“The number of people that can get a plan for under $10 a month, it's more than doubled,” Smith said.

Smith said most high income earners who may not have qualified in the past can now enroll. Previously, those making 400% of the federal poverty level were not eligible. That cap has gone away.

“I helped a business owner a few weeks ago. She made $120,000 a year, and she still got a $1,000 a month subsidy to help her pay for her health insurance,” Smith said.

Since President Joe Biden took office, 4.6 million more people have insurance through the federal health exchange than in 2020. More than 21,000 West Virginia households get their insurance through Healthcare.gov.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with support from Charleston Area Medical Center and Marshall Health.

Appalachia Health News Reporter, jleffler@wvpublic.org, 502-377-0438, @june_leffler

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