Got a Question on Health Care Reform? Ask a "Navigator"

Jun 17, 2013

A tri-county region that includes the Roaring Fork Valley received a grant that will help guide people through federal health care reform.
Credit Flickr/Katy Warner

The bulk of the federal Affordable Care Act takes effect next year and local governments are preparing. The tri-county region that includes the Roaring Fork Valley picked up a grant that will help people navigate the new health care options. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Starting in October people can shop for health insurance online as part of the Affordable Care Act. A crew of health assistance navigators will guide people through different options.. The assistance is thanks to a grant Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties received this week. Nan Sundeen is director of Pitkin County’s Health and Human Services.

"These health assistance navigators will be in-person to help people actually review all the options and consider what’s best for them, they won’t tell people what to choose, but they will give them the options and help them understand the law and what their obligations and options are," she says.

The navigators will be stationed at places where people currently receive public assistance like Pitkin County’s Health and Human Services building in Aspen.

About a quarter of the people living in the Roaring Fork Valley don’t have insurance. So many of them will be exploring programs like Medicaid. Other plans will be offered through the online marketplace called Connect for Health Colorado. A health plan purchased in the fall will take effect on January first. That’s when most people will be required to have health coverage or pay a penalty.