MATCH program ready to help McDowell residents get their health benefits

McDowell Access to Care & Health (MATCH) is ready to help local residents learn more about free health insurance renewals and how to sign up for 2023 benefits.

The MATCH team is hosting open market registration which began on Tuesday, November 1 and will end on Sunday, January 15, 2023. The team, made up of experienced, federally certified local navigators, is offering appointments to residents of McDowell to provide free health insurance renewals. and new enrollment appointments for the 2023 coverage year, according to a press release.

A big change this year, which is expected to make up to 1 million more people eligible for affordable market coverage, is the reversal of the “family issue”. Previously, if an employer provided affordable minimum essential coverage to an employee but not the rest of the family, the whole family would not be eligible for subsidies to offset the cost of market plans. This problem has been reversed and families will have more choices for more affordable options.

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The MATCH team is organized to offer daytime, evening and some weekend appointments. Appointments are available at the MATCH office or at any of the colocation sites: Centro Unido Latino Americano, Freedom Life, RHA, McDowell Mission Ministries, East Marion IPHC and Foothills Health Department, according to the press release.

In addition, several community events are planned, providing increased accessibility.

For example, open registration events are scheduled at the East Marion United Methodist Church at 210 Baldwin Ave. These events will be organized in cooperation with the Marion East Community Forum. They will take place on Thursday, November 3; Thursday December 1 and Thursday January 5. All will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

MATCH and the West Marion Community Forum will also present open registration events at Addie’s Chapel United Methodist Church at 201 Ridley St. in Marion. The first will be on Monday, Nov. 14, from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Medicare consultation also available). Other events are scheduled for Monday December 12 and Monday January 9. They will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on both dates.

MATCH and the Old Fort Community Forum will have open registration events at the First Baptist Church of Old Fort, 203 E. Main St. They will be held today, November 1 from 4-7 p.m. and Monday December 5 from 4 to 7 p.m. A third event will take place on Monday, January 9 from 4 to 7 p.m.

And MATCH will host an open registration event with CULA at 79 Academy St. in Marion on Friday, November 18 from 5-8 p.m.

To make an appointment, please contact 828-659-5289. Appointments are available in English and Spanish.

• There are 11 insurance companies offering coverage in McDowell County for 2023: Aetna, CVS Health, Ambetter of NC, AmeriHealth Caritas North Carolina, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, CareSource, Cigna, Friday Health, Oscar Health, United Healthcare of NC and WellCare of North Carolina.

• Enhanced Premium Tax Credits (IPC) for eligible consumers will still be available for 2023 coverage. In addition, families between 100% and 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) will see their contribution to the premium reduced to zero dollars. Families with incomes above 400% of the FPL will have their premiums capped at 8.5% of their household income.

• Households that are between 100% and 150% of FPL will also be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).

• Federally certified navigators provide unbiased education, outreach, registration, and post-registration assistance. “We don’t sell health insurance; our goal is to help families find quality plans to meet their health and financial needs,” reads the MATCH program press release.

• MATCH offers additional programs for those who do not qualify or for those who need additional assistance: access to primary and specialty care, medication assistance, chronic disease case management, durable medical equipment, vision, resources dental, and more.

About Evelyn C. Heim

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