Uninsured Get Head Start With Help of Healthcare Navigators

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Updated: Wed, 09 Oct 2013 10:23:53 EST

The State Insurance commissioner's Office says as of Tuesday there are 13 people in Georgia licensed to help people navigate the Affordable Care Act's Online Insurance Exchange.

The exchange is designed to help people enroll in coverage before the December 15th deadline. People who do not enroll before the deadline face a penalty of $95 or more. The Insurance Commissioner's office says 36 people have passed the certification to become navigators but have yet to get their licenses in the mail. Another 29 people are scheduled to take the final exam.

Allison Williams of Community Health Care Systems based out of Tennille, is one of the 36 certified navigators who have yet to receive their licenses. Williams says she's not allowed to work with people until her license arrives, but she's looking forward to finding coverage for her organization's patients.

"We're looking forward to some of our patients hopefully being able to expand their insurance options, being able to actually go to the hospital and see specialists as well," Williams said.

Williams says she had to complete 25 hours of coursework from the federal government and another ten hours of work from the state in order to become certified. She also had to pass an hour long exam taken in person.

"Anybody that wanted to do it could do it, but there is a lot of studying that has to be done," Williams said.

Dove Ministries Outreach Hosted a special event Tuesday to help connect people with navigators.

Marna Cooper of Macon was surprised more people didn't show up to the healthcare seminar, but says more people will come to additional meetings, or face the consequences.

"There is going to be a penalty for them procrastinating, as well as not getting the insurance," Cooper said.

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