CITY OF NEW HAVEN NAMED OFFICIAL “NAVIGATOR” FOR ACCESS HEALTH CT; WILL LEAD COMMUNITY OUTREACH EFFORT TO EDUCATE AND INFORM PUBLIC ABOUT THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
(9/30/2013) (New Haven, CT) - Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. announced today that the City of New Haven has been selected by Access Health CT to act as an official “Navigator” in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the Greater New Haven area. Access Health CT is Connecticut’s official “health insurance marketplace” whose mission is to increase the number of Connecticut residents who are insured as required by the federal Affordable Care Act, which aims make healthcare more affordable and accessible to most people, mandates that citizens without health insurance purchase insurance by January 1, 2014 or risk financial penalties. In its role as Navigator, the City and its partner organizations will undertake a massive outreach and education effort in order to educate the public about the requirements of the Affordable Care Act and assist individuals and families in navigating the new system. .” The City of New Haven is the only municipality in Connecticut to serve as a Navigator for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Beginning tomorrow, October 1, 2013, people can shop for, compare and purchase health care plans by visiting Access Health CT at http://www.accesshealthct.com/ and by calling 1-855-805-4325. Insurance plans that are purchased will go in effect on January 1, 2014. However, many people may have questions as to how the process will work, whether they need to purchase health insurance and whether or not there is financial assistance available to them.
Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. explained that the requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act, and the system set up to implement it, are brand new. Because of this, people may be confused and unsure as to what they need to do.
“As Navigator, the role of the City of New Haven and our partners will be to explain, educate and assist people through this process. Today, we are introducing to the public the requirements of the Affordable Healthcare Act and providing information as to where people can immediately go to get information, assistance and get any questions answered,” noted Mayor DeStefano, referring the Access Health CT’s toll-free phone number 1-855-805-4325 and website http://www.accesshealthct.com/. The Mayor noted that as Access Health CT continues to roll out during the month of October there will be many more opportunities for New Haven residents to obtain assistance locally. A storefront will open on Church Street; staff will be hired to conduct outreach and education at community events, health fairs and to church, neighborhood and school organizations and groups. Partner organizations or “assisters” in the Greater New Haven area will grow from about 10 to 88.
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro noted, "These Navigators are going to be crucial to helping consumers and small businesses understand their coverage options and find affordable health care coverage that meets their needs. The City of New Haven is planning a robust outreach program that will help the enrollment period proceed smoothly and I look forward to seeing the results of their hard work. The more people who have quality and affordable health care, the better off we are as a city, a state, and a nation."
The Navigator organizations were selected by the Access Health CT based on several key criteria including geographic focus, population demographics and experience in healthcare outreach. “The role of Navigators is integral to the success of health reform in Connecticut,” said Access Health CT CEO, Kevin Counihan. “These organizations represent some of the most sophisticated and knowledgeable outreach organizations in our state, and we are and proud and grateful to have their support.”
Navigator organizations will be conducting public education activities about Access Health CT, the Affordable Care Act and referring consumers to the right place if they have questions or concerns. Navigators’ key staff members will become certified by undergoing background checks, 40 hours of training, and passing a certification test with a score of 80% or better. They will work with community organizations and other partners to help consumers gain access to coverage.
“To fulfill its mission to remove structural barriers for our residents to access health care, the New Haven Public Health Department has forged a unique partnership with Access Health CT and numerous partner organizations in order to implement the Affordable Care Act Navigator program in the New Haven County. We intend to fully assist uninsured and underinsured residents to comply with the law and reap the benefits of the expanded availability of insurance coverage,” noted Dr. Mario Garcia, the Health Director for the City of New Haven.
Per the Affordable Care Act, beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, October 1, 2013, people can shop for, compare and purchase health care plans by visiting Access Health CT at http://www.accesshealthct.com/ and by calling 1-855-805-4325. Both the website and phone number also provide helpful information about what the new law means for individuals and families. There are a range of plans available at different price points.
There is financial support to offset the cost of purchasing health insurance for individuals and families whose income falls within certain limits. The income limits for Medicaid eligibility have been increased to $15,856 for a single person and to $32,499 for a family of four.
Additionally, there is financial help, through tax credits, for single person incomes ranging from $15,857 up to $45,960 and for a family of four with incomes from $32,500 up to $94,200.
The Affordable Care Act mandates that all citizens who do not have health insurance purchase health insurance by January 1, 2014 or face penalties. In 2014, the penalty will be $95 per person or 1% of gross household income (whichever is greater). In 2015, the penalty will increase to $325 per person or 2% of gross household income (whichever is greater) and in 2016, the penalty will be $695 per person or 2.5% of gross household income, whichever is greater.
For more information please visit www.accesshealthct.com