Local View: MNsure navigators help make life's changes easier
From the column: "Open enrollment is an important time to investigate your options."
We all know someone who has made a major life change recently. Maybe you’re that person. Of course, change is just a part of life. However, for many, the pandemic has prompted more changes for more people. The recent record-breaking levels of resignations from jobs, what some are calling “the great resignation,” is one example of this.
Often, health insurance is tied to employment. For those leaving their jobs — to find something more suitable or because of problems finding child care or for early retirement or for the many other reasons currently impacting Americans — the question becomes: where can I get health insurance now?
In Minnesota, many people turn to MNsure, our state’s marketplace, to help access health insurance and the premium tax credits that help make it affordable. Open enrollment is an important time to investigate your options on MNsure. If you wait, it may not be possible to enroll later in the year. Open enrollment is from Nov. 1 through Jan. 15, and to get coverage by Jan. 1, enrollment must be completed by Dec. 15.
Importantly, you’re not alone in figuring this stuff out. MNsure navigators are local assisters who provide free help with health insurance to anyone. Navigators can go step by step through an application with you, help you understand the different plans available, or just answer health insurance questions you may have as you plan for life’s changes.
Navigators meet many folks in times of change, whether work changes, family changes, or major life milestones. Navigators are trained professionals who are also caring and easy to work with.
Navigators are currently providing assistance in-person or remotely by phone or via Zoom. It’s possible to get help by calling one of these organizations: Lake Superior Community Health Center at 218-722-9650, Community Action Duluth at 218-726-1665, YMCA at the Essentia Wellness Center at 218-241-8008 extension 527, Generations Health Care Initiatives at 218-336-5709, or WE Health Clinic at 218-727-3352.
Navigators also provide walk-in help at the downtown Duluth Public Library, 520 W. Superior St., every Thursday from noon to 6 p.m. and on the following Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Dec. 4, Dec. 11, Dec. 18, Jan. 8, and Jan. 15.
Call a navigator to get the help you need figuring out health insurance in this time of change — and do it before the Jan. 15 deadline. Your future self will thank you.
Megan Halena is program director for Generations Health Care Initiatives (ghci.us) in Duluth.