|By Dann Denny, Herald-Times, Bloomington, Ind.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The website -- www.HealthTaxCreditTool.org -- is based on research that shows two-thirds of uninsured adults eligible for government subsidies on the new health exchanges don't know the subsidies exist, and that more than 80 percent said they would likely obtain insurance if they had financial help.
"It's a very simple and user-friendly site," said
On the website, consumers must anonymously answer questions about their family makeup, health care status, state of residence and earnings to see if they qualify for a subsidy. But people must still go through healthcare.gov to officially apply for a subsidy and purchase a health insurance plan.
The new site is the result of a partnership between the
"A lot of people think they earn too much to get a tax credit," Woolery said. "Some people who make
Woolery recommends that people use the new site before coming to see a navigator, who will help them through the process of enrolling in a health insurance plan through healthcare.gov.
"If they know ahead of time that they qualify for subsidies, it will make the process a lot simpler and quicker when the navigator helps them," Woolery said.
Where to get help
Most Americans have until the end of March to acquire health insurance of pay a tax penalty of
People seeking assistance buying health insurance through the healthcare.gov website can set up an appointment with a trained "navigator" by calling
They can also call 349-3851 and set up an appointment with Woolery or one of her interns who has also become certified as a navigator. Those two are helping people enroll in plans, or qualify for
"I've also partnered with Individual Solutions to help people with enrollment at Ivy Tech," Woolery said. "And some of those who will become certified navigators after taking my course will help Individual Solutions people at Volunteers in Medicine enroll people in the Healthy Indiana Plan, which has opened up new slots for childless adults."
People can also find assistance at two "health insurance community fairs," one from
The volunteer organization is also sponsoring a "health plan comparison forum" at
Outreach to college students
A student-led effort aimed at reaching the nearly 50,000 college undergraduate and graduate students in
"College students operate in real time and are incredibly deadline-focused," said
The outreach effort, dubbed the "March Healthcare Madness Campaign," is largely electronic in nature, and the content of the campaign materials is different from materials the organization has developed for older audiences.
The campaign is being carried out by
"Social media is where college students spend much of their time, and so, that is where they will find much of our assistance," Meyer said. "The new campaign focuses on how students can figure out if they are exempt from the upcoming penalty that will be charged to folks who do not get health insurance by the
Meyer said most college students are just beginning to understand the value of health insurance.
Health care navigator training available
Woolery said her goal is to provide more navigators in the community, adding to the pool of 12 navigators now helping people enroll at
"When I took my pre-certification class in
Woolery said to become a navigator, those who complete their pre-certification training must complete an online application on the
More information: http://www.in.gov/idoi
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