Health Connector Announces Navigator Grant

The Massachusetts Health Connector recently announced the Joint Committee for Children’s Health Care in Everett is one of fifteen (15) organizations across the Commonwealth that will receive grants and serve as Navigators, community-based experts available to help people sign up for health insurance during this fall’s Open Enrollment.

The JCCHC is a coalition of 24 community-based organizations that is a returning Navigator and provides services that link outreach and preventative health education to hard-to-reach individuals and families. The Joint Committee will expand multicultural and multilingual staffing to better support target populations at on-site locations in the Everett City Hall and Community Center, and at other locations through partnerships with organizations in Chelsea, East Boston, Malden, Revere and Somerville.

The Navigators will play a significant, front-line role in the Commonwealth’s effort to encourage current members to submit applications into a new system this fall and to sign up uninsured residents. After completing training with the Health Connector and MassHealth, Navigators are able to assist a consumer from application through enrollment into new health insurance plans using culturally and linguistically appropriate methods. The 2015 Open Enrollment period runs from Nov. 15 through Feb. 15, 2015.

“The upcoming Open Enrollment period gives our members and new applicants the opportunity to find permanent coverage, and enjoy all of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act,” said Jean Yang, the Executive Director of the Health Connector. “Our Navigators provide a valuable service by offering the kind of direct assistance members rely on and respond to best. These groups will be very visible throughout the state, and we look forward to working them throughout Open Enrollment.”

Currently, nearly 400,000 people are in subsidized temporary MassHealth coverage or extended Health Connector coverage, or buy their insurance through the Health Connector without financial assistance. Those people will need to update their application information in the system during Open Enrollment in order to maintain insurance and avoid a gap in coverage.

Last week, the Commonwealth announced it would remain a state-based Marketplace this fall, with a new system that includes important member functionality, including automatically displaying the State Wrap benefit – which will include additional financial assistance above and beyond federal tax credits for many applicants who qualify for subsidized Health Connector plans.

In addition to the Navigator program, additional outreach, education and application efforts will include statewide programming operated by Health Care For All. A network of approximately 1,100 Certified Application Councilors, predominately at health-care provider locations, are also available to help applicants.

A contact list of Navigators and Councilors can be found at the Health Connector’s website. Additionally, the Health Connector will be using direct mail and phone calls to current members, a series of public application-intake events, advertising, and other initiatives designed to increase awareness and encourage members to take immediate action.

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