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HUNTINGTON — Help is available to West Virginians looking for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace.

Jeremy Smith, program director for West Virginia Navigator, a nonprofit enrollment assistance group, said getting help signing up is important, as many people are overwhelmed by the options and may choose the wrong type of plan for their family.

“This time of year, people are bombarded with ads for health insurance,” Smith said in a release. “Some are legitimate, but some are not. We are grant funded so we have no profit motive and our only goal is to help people find the best, most affordable plan for them.”

Open enrollment for Marketplace health insurance, available through the provisions of the ACA, began Monday and continues through Dec. 15.

Smith said there may be those who are concerned about the ACA and legal challenges but people should still sign up.

“No matter who is elected or who is on the Supreme Court, those who sign up this year during open enrollment will be able to keep their plan for 2021, no matter what pre-existing conditions they have,” he said.

WV Navigator predicts this year is expected to be a busy year for enrollment as record numbers of unemployed seek health insurance. Although those who lose their job due to the pandemic are eligible for a special enrollment period, many may not have been aware of this and will be signing up during open enrollment.

Smith said residents should call early this year to get an appointment to learn about their options.

Financial help is available when signing up for health insurance through the Marketplace. Last year, 8 in 10 applicants qualified for financial help in obtaining health care coverage.

For those that are already enrolled in Marketplace health insurance, new plans and prices are available. Those with current Marketplace coverage should pick a new plan or re-enroll in their existing plan by Dec, 15 to prevent a lapse in coverage.

Anyone in West Virginia can call WV Navigator at 304-356-5834 to reserve a telephone appointment. Consultations are available over the telephone or through a telehealth option, which will allow callers to see their application completed in real-time. There is no charge for enrollment assistance.

The agency is a free program to West Virginia residents and receives federal funding to assist consumers with enrolling in West Virginia Medicaid or in private health insurance through provisions of the ACA.

More information is available at www.wvnavigator.com.

Reporter Taylor Stuck can be reached at tstuck@hdmediallc.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.

Reporter Taylor Stuck can be reached at tstuck@hdmediallc.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.