Thursday, November 20, 2014

Governor McAuliffe Kicks off Open Enrollment

Governor Terry McAuliffe kicked off this year’s open enrollment for the Federal Marketplace, promising to take an aggressive role in helping eligible Virginians sign up for high-quality, affordable health insurance.

“Quality and affordable health care is a basic necessity for healthy families and a strong economy,”Governor McAuliffe said during a press conference at the Vernon J. Harris Medical and Dental Center in Richmond. My goal is to enroll up to 160,000 Virginians in affordable health coverage between now and February 15. I want to make sure all Virginians who want help can get the in-person assistance they need to choose the right plans for themselves and their families.”

Open enrollment on the Federal Marketplace this year runs from November 15 through February 15. Last year, 216,000 Virginians went online and purchased health plans at Another 300,000 state residents qualify for tax credits on the Marketplace but remain uninsured.

Virginia was awarded a $9.3 million federal grant to fund more than 100 enrollment assisters across the Commonwealth. Those assisters are being hired through the Virginia Community Healthcare Association’s member health centers and the Virginia Poverty Law Center through its Enroll Virginia initiative, as well as other community partners.

“Virginia’s federally qualified health centers and the Virginia Poverty Law Center have long been valuable partners with state leaders in improving health care for Virginians,” said Dr. Bill Hazel, Secretary of Health and Human Resources. “I look forward to building on this great collaborative relationship. Together we will improve thousands of lives across the Commonwealth.”

A separate $4.3 million federal grant is funding additional outreach and educational activities, as well as a major media campaign this winter.

Radio, bus and digital ads will begin in December. Television ads promoting health coverage will begin airing in January.

On Thursday, Governor McAuliffe unveiled an improved, more user-friendly website, which will guide qualified individuals to to enroll in insurance plans and educate them about their options. The new website will launch on Saturday, the first day of the open enrollment period for the Federal Marketplace, and is operated by the Department of Medical Assistance Services. A related Facebook page and Twitter account, @coverva, are already in operation.

One of the new features on the website will help individuals find assisters located in their communities or nearby.

The website also will assist individuals who qualify for Medicaid and the Family Access to Medical Insurance Security, or FAMIS, Virginia’s insurance program for children. DMAS also has opened a new processing center to make sure applications for people eligible for Medicaid and FAMIS are processed efficiently.

(The hidden tax you never wanted but are now forced to pay into.)

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