Community-based Organization Aides in Health Care Education

   Written by on January 22, 2015 at 2:28 pm

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “The Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress and then signed into law by the President on March 23, 2010.  On June 28, 2012 the Supreme Court rendered a final decision to uphold the health care law.”  Essentially, the Affordable Care Act seeks to ensure that quality and affordable health care is available to all Americans while reducing premium costs for those who may or may not be currently insured.

For many individuals, the concept of health insurance may be uncharted territory.  Based on the idea that some Americans are seeking insurance for the first time, community-based education groups such as Enroll-Virginia are stepping in to make the process easier.

Information provided via their website explained that Enroll-Virginia was formed in 2013 as a means of educating individuals about the new health insurance options available through the Marketplace, while providing help with the application and enrollment process at no cost. Enroll-Virginia stated that “for many of the uninsured, this will be the first time they will apply for health coverage, select a health plan, and use coverage to obtain services. As a result, many Virginians will need help understanding their new health insurance options and applying for tax credits through the Marketplace. Providing one-on-one assistance through efforts like Enroll Virginia will be critical to educating small businesses and individuals about the new options and helping them enroll.”

Those who wish to enroll in a health care plan for 2015 can visit to get started, call the Marketplace at (800) 318-2596 or seek help from an in-person assister.  Local certified in-person Assister, Sharon Costanzo, revealed that she has been following the Affordable Care Act since 2010 and it’s a passion for her.  Costanzo explained that as an in-person assister, it is her job to educate the community on how their insurance works.  Although the last day to enroll for 2015 coverage is February 15, Costanzo recommends that those seeking to receive affordable health care should not wait until the last day in an effort to avoid potential delays.  However, some individuals may qualify for a special enrollment period.  Those who enroll by February 15 will receive coverage by March.

Costanzo currently serves the counties of Charlotte, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg and Prince Edward. Meetings will typically take place at the local county library or SVCC.  Costanzo explained that those who set up an appointment will need to bring a previous or current year tax form/ income statement, Social Security numbers and birthdates for all dependents and have access to a workable email address.  Additionally, if insurance is available through a spouse, the employer coverage tool should be filled out unless not in open-enrollment or coverage is not offered.  Appointments are available with Sharon Costanzo by calling (434) 316-3773.

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