Website leads to presentations
A nonprofit tapped to help educate state residents about the Health Insurance Marketplace has set up a website that lists outreach efforts statewide and even allows users to request a presentation in their community.
LaHealthCareNav.com was set up by the Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center in Lafayette.
Users can click on tabs to request enrollment assistance, see health plan information, see events in each area and find answers to frequently asked questions.
“You can go through an interactive map that lists all the parishes, click on a parish and it will list all the different activities going on in that parish,” said Brian Burton, director of health promotions for the center. “So people can figure out where to go to be able to learn more.”
Burton spoke during a conference call about the navigators and the marketplace and in an interview later in the day.
The center lists events held by groups it is working with, such as rural health clinics and hospitals, Burton said. So the events list isn’t comprehensive.
The Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center, along with three others in the state, received a $1.1 million federal grant to do community outreach and education on the marketplace.
The Southwest Center used part of the grant money to set up the website. Other funds went to train “navigators,” who help people learn about the insurance marketplace.
“About 75 percent of what a navigator does is community education, and about 25 percent is the enrollment process,” Burton said.
Burton said LaHealthCareNav .com does not list information on subsidy amounts but does include a link to the Kaiser Family Foundation subsidy calculator at kff.org.
Using the online calculator can give people an idea of what their subsidy might be, Burton said.
Unfortunately, or perhaps fittingly, LaHealthCareNav.com is having some access issues.
People who use Internet Explorer cannot access the site, but the site works fine with other browsers, such as Firefox or Google Chrome.
The Internet Explorer issues started suddenly but the center is fixing them, Burton said.
Burton also recommended that people looking for information go to LocalHelp.HealthCare.Gov.
Users can enter their ZIP code or their city and state, and the website will generate a list of every local group that registered with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to be either a navigator or an application counselor.
The site lists the group’s address, phone number, office hours, email and website.
Entering Baton Rouge generates more than 60 results.
Burton said another source of help are the state’s Federally Qualified Health Centers, clinics in underserved areas that receive federal grants and provide care on a sliding scale.
The main difference between the navigators and application counselors, Burton said, is the counselors aren’t required to do community outreach.
The application counselors are often the same people who enroll patients in Medicare, Medicaid or other health assistance programs, he said.