ANDERSON, Ind. —
Today, the federal Affordable Care Act opens its marketplace, and while the shopping frenzy for insurance bargains may have begun, not everyone is prepared for the anticipated crush of shoppers.
Deborah Hester, owner of Plus One Enterprises, Anderson, will be one of the many navigators across the state assisting people with insurance enrollments. But she won't be ready to offer assistance until after Oct. 17.
“I know that’s terrible, but that is just how it is,” Hester said.
Hester signed a lease for an office space in Anderson on Monday and said she can be reached at (855) 758-7166, but her website is still in the design process.
“We are not up and running yet,” she said. “I can’t do enrollments until I am done with my licensing. But I can answer any questions.”
Dennis Rosebrough, communications director for the Indiana Department of Insurance, said 97 certified navigators and about 155 people in the process of being licensed by the state will provide the federal services.
According to the federal government, navigators will assist people shopping or enrolling in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Only those specially trained and certified, such as navigators, application assisters, certified application counselors, insurance agents and brokers, and government agencies, are qualified to assist people with federal health coverage and enrollments.
Grants were awarded to several qualifying navigators in Indiana to provide the services. Hester received a one-year federal grant in August for $130,875.
Rosebrough said, along with satisfying federal requirements, navigators in Indiana must complete a state program in addition to training, testing and background checks.
“The federal government is running the marketplace in Indiana,” Rosebrough explained.
Each state was given the option to administer the Marketplace or have the program run by the federal government. Indiana opted to have the federal government administer the program. That means all enrollment and coverage options in the state must be accessed through federal portals at www.healthcare.gov.