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, 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.

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  • Marizel

    The part of auto insurance you're required to carry is the liability to protect others, not collision on your own car.

    I think it'd be ok to require everyone to carry a catastrophic health insurance policy so they're not a burden if they have a serious illness or injury. Not so sure about requiring everyone to have standard health insurance, which is really mostly a pre-payment plan.

  • Jephre

    Sueanne -auto liability insurance protects other people in the event of injuries to them or damage you cause to their property - that's why it's required. Medical payments coverage is optional and applies to the driver of a vehicle or any passenger in the vehicle. NCWV, to my knowledge, there's only one state that doesn't require auto liability insurance, and I believe it's New Hampshire.

  • JoeP

    Medical payments on an auto policy are optional. It's the bodily injury portion of the policy that is part of the mandatory coverage.

    • NCWV

      If you sustain bodily injury, shouldn't your medical insurance take care of you regardless of the cause of the injury?

  • blugldmn

    Good point WV on the auto medical coverage but you won't see that go away...

  • Frankie

    Why won't they subsidize my health insurance? I am the one working and paying the taxes. How about they get a job - and have some money - and then they can afford to buy some insurance? I see a lot of Help Wanted signs.

  • Dale

    The difference is several hundred dollars a year for low income WORKING people that don't qualify for public assistance!

    • wvtd

      the working poor take the hit for this liberal boondoggle. Obama can stick his obamacare up his........

  • sueanne

    but aren"t we forgetting something>>>>we were forced to have auto insuance--whats the difference?

    • AX MAN

      Yes, but we have the option, where to but it, also every state doesn't require it and you can always drop it, after you have obtained your tags.

    • NCWV

      The difference is that the state requires you to buy auto insurance if you choose to license a vehicle in the state. If I don't like the conditions in one state, I'm free to move to another state.

      The federal government now requires you to buy health insurance because you were born. There is no choice.

      Since we're on the topic, shouldn't the medical coverage requirement on our auto policy be dropped after everybody has health insurance under Obamacare? Why should we pay for the same thing twice?

      • TruthWins

        When uninsured do need medical care and don't pay their bills, those costs, in part, get passed along to those who are paying their bills.
        Many times, the uninsured get care in the ER, which is the most expensive care provider in the world.
        Have you seen the "rate sucker" commercials for car insurance?
        We already have universal health coverage. It's just being delivered via the most expensive way available. Next, ERs will be allowed to say "this isn't an emergency. Take two aspirin and call your doctor in the morning, because, due to Obamacare, you have a doctor now."

  • blugldmn

    This will not end well.

    I will not be forced to purchase insurance.

    John Roberts should be hung from the highest hill in Washington, D.C.

  • Dave R.