Health insurance

Column by Nancy Vaughan: Essential Navigators for Understanding Medicare Options | Columns

Amid the avalanche of Medicare enrollment messages, one could easily miss the other big healthcare enrollment season: the health insurance market.

From November 1 to January 15, people not eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, or employer insurance can purchase health care plans on However, one only needs to log into the site to understand the most affordable options. That’s why free support is available through a network of licensed browsers supported by Covering Kids and Families of Indiana (CKF).

This year, market plans have been made more affordable through cost sharing that includes lower deductibles and additional savings options, and increased tax credits that offset premium costs. Most people will be eligible for some type of help.

Browsers can help users determine the final cost of their plans. They can also help ensure that the plans are accepted by the medical providers that people choose.

Finally, mariners can enroll those whose income qualifies for an appropriate public plan, such as the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP), Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, market registration has been a key goal of CKF, along with continued efforts to reach uninsured people who are eligible for any of the options. public. Some additional considerations in the federal market:

Coverage begins on the first day of the month following the request.

More Hoosiers than ever qualify for a free plan.

Current Marketplace customers may find a plan for less this year, as the plans have been made even more affordable.

Consumers should be wary of solicitations that appear to be market-compliant plans, but lack the essentials of ACA.

Key elements of ACA-compliant plans include free wellness checks, reimbursable maximum amounts, no lifetime limits, and no exclusions of pre-existing conditions.

After January 15, the market will only be an option for people with a change in circumstances such as loss of sponsored employment coverage. Registration for the public option is open all year round for qualified candidates.

Heart of Indiana United Way in Madison County has sponsored the local CKF Coalition since 2009. CKF Coalition Director Julie Barton facilitates outreach opportunities and information sharing among the many navigators employed by hospitals and centers County of Madison Health. Mariners are also partnering with the Madison County Health Department to offer information and registration opportunities at its mobile unit stops.

Wherever one lives in Indiana, CKF Navigators can help with health insurance information and registration. Appointments, including virtual options, can be made at or by calling 1-888-975-4CKF. Information is also available by calling 211 or calling Heart of Indiana United Way at 765-643-7493.

Nancy Vaughan is COO of Heart of Indiana United Way. She can be reached at or 765-608-3061.