CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Americans are less than a month away from the start of open enrollment for the Medicaid expansion and private subsidized health plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
West Virginians for Affordable Health Care Executive Director Perry Bryant said people can start looking at their options now but, “They’re not going to be able to tell you if you’re qualified or not until Oct. 1.”
West Virginia is one of the states that has opted to expand Medicaid to 138 percent of the poverty level, potentially adding 133,000 state residents to the federal program. That means individuals making less than $15,800 will soon qualify.
State residents who don’t currently have health insurance, but who do not qualify for Medicaid even with the expansion, will be able to buy that insurance through the marketplace. Subsidies for those private plans will be offered on a sliding scale based on income.
Enrollment begins Oct. 1 for coverage. After that date, assistance will be available at healthcare.gov, by calling 1-800-318-2596 or through community enrollment and education events.
Bryant said the state Insurance Commission has contracted with a company to provide hundreds of workers to assist with the enrollment process in West Virginia.
“They’ll be a number of people that can actually sit down with someone, walk them through the process and make sure they get the coverage they deserve,” said Bryant.
State projections indicated the percentage of uninsured West Virginians will be reduced by 70 percent in the first three years following the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The enrollment period will continue through March. For those who enroll this fall, coverage could begin as early as Jan. 1.