Navigators help Hoosiers explore health plans

Beth Overmyer is ready to work as a navigator for those with questions about health care.
Published: .
Updated: .

The clock is ticking. Americans have just four days to go before they can start signing up for the Affordable Health Care Act. In Indiana, navigators are being organized to make the process easier.

Far away from the political firestorm in Washington, Beth Overmyer prepares for the onslaught. In four days, as a navigator, she will be on the front line of the Affordable Health Care Act in Indiana.

"Four days and counting," she observes.

Overmyer works for Claim Aid, a Christian-based company located on the north side of Indianapolis, which has worked with uninsured and underinsured in the state for the past 24 years. She is tested and certified to help answer Indiana's questions online, on the phone or face-to-face.

"Open enrollment starts October 1 and runs through March 31, but in order to have coverage by January 1, they will need to file and enroll by December 15," Overmyer said.

So navigators, she explained, will ask questions to explore income and individual and family health needs to find the best plan for them.

"The bronze plan only pays 60 percent, which means they would be responsible for 40 percent, so they need to look at health needs. So if you have an individual with health needs, they will want to look at the gold plan," she added.

The gold plan covers 80 percent and leaves the policyholder responsible for 20 percent. Another big issue to navigate will be in the area of subsidies.

"When they see the premium, they may be very scared, but it's going to tell them based on income, household size and information what the subsidy will be on the advance premium tax credit," Overmyer said.

But she added Hoosiers will have a choice to take the credit in advance or have it apply at tax time.

A key point to keep in mind, an Indiana navigator cannot sell health insurance and you will want to make sure you are working with a certified navigator. You can check that on the Department of Insurance website, as Overmyer found out on her own.

"So they can. They can go on the Indiana Department of Insurance and check on an individual navigation certification," she said.

As of October 1, you can contact a navigator online through the Department of Insurance, or by telephone, or you can set up a face-to-face meeting. Not surprisingly, you may find a navigator as close as your local hospital and, in some cases, your doctor's office.