Cover WV Day provides statewide free health insurance enrollment assistance

January 9, 2024, kicks off the first annual Cover WV Day for all those who are uninsured.

The West Virginia Primary Care Association, West Virginia Navigator Program, West Virginia Office of the Insurance Commissioner and various other organizations collaborated for this important event to help people get insured.

“Assistance is free, they can ask questions; maybe they won’t feel nervous or concerned, judged,” said New River Health Association Benefits counselor Kelli Dangerfield. “This is an opportunity to sort of let everyone in the state know that someone is available to help them.”

More than 100,000 West Virginians lack health insurance. On this first annual Cover WV Day, it’s all about helping the uninsured get insured and connect with the right health insurance.

Barbara Cavendish has health insurance, but living without it is not an option.

“I mean everybody needs it,” said the Charlton Heights resident. “It was hard for me to get but I did gettin’ it.”

In the past there may have been a lot of stigma around people who had Medicaid or what used to be called Welfare — but there shouldn’t be.

“People may be eligible now for a medical card,” Dangerfield said. “Which there are people who are working who their income just happens to be in a range where they’re able to qualify for a medical card that can help them receive the insurance coverage that they need.”

And how did Barbara navigate when she was uninsured…

“I had to pay a hospital bill,” said Cavendish. “I love my doctors — they’re awesome. I think they would take you in even if you didn’t have no insurance.”

According to Dangerfield, the numbers are still concerning that so many people need to keep up with their health but can’t because they are uninsured. With the Affordable Care Act there’s much assistance available, including the Premium Tax Credit and cost-sharing reduction that reduces the daily cost you may have to pay; and can reduce your copay and deductible.

“It can really be a help to people who have a more limited income, but yet don’t still qualify for a Medicaid card,” the benefits counselor said. “There are still various ways that they can find affordable insurance today.”

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