Michigan’s Health Insurance Marketplace set to open on October 1

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    On October 1 uninsured Michiganders and their families will be able to obtain affordable health care coverage by access the new Health Insurance Marketplace at healthcare.gov. A central part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the Health Insurance Marketplace was designed for the uninsured and individuals who purchase their own coverage.

    To assist in spreading the word throughout the community about the Marketplace, the Michigan Chronicle is launching a campaign to maximize awareness and educate many who have not previously purchased health insurance about the process and the importance of preventive care.

    “For many, purchasing health coverage online will be complicated and confusing,” said Hiram E. Jackson, publisher of the Michigan Chronicle. “As the longtime voice of the community, the Michigan Chronicle is a trusted brand that is uniquely positioned to reach hard-to-reach populations that will benefit from the Marketplace.”

    Named the “Got You Covered” campaign, the Michigan Chronicle is mobilizing a small army of community organization partners and trained volunteers to educate the community about the Affordable Care Act, accessing the Health Insurance Marketplace, expanded health care options and information that must be considered while purchasing health insurance.

    “Many people have never purchased health insurance before and are likely not familiar with the terminology and details they need to know in making their decisions,” Jackson continued. “Our campaign will work to ensure that everyone can successfully navigate the landscape to ensure better options and better health for our community.”

    Promoting Medicaid Expansion is also expected to be an integral part of the campaign. Medicaid expansion will provide health care coverage for 470,000 Michiganders who earn less than $15,000 annually. Now back from the summer recess, the state legislature is expected to vote on health care expansion this week.

    Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace is October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014. After this period, those who do not have health coverage may be accessed a fee and still continue to pay out-of-pocket for all of their care.

    Spearheaded by Cathy Nedd, chief operating officer of the Michigan Chronicle, the campaign will operate via the Michigan Chronicle’s Marketing Services Division.

    “I am excited to be a part of helping the community access the necessary coverage to receive health care,” Nedd said. “Urgent care is expensive if paid out-of-pocket. For too long, too many people have used emergency rooms to take care of their health care needs. And they have not been able to get the preventive care that they need, only using the emergency rooms when their situations have become critical.”

    Elements of the “Got You Covered” campaign include town hall meetings, educational marketing materials, a special Michigan Chronicle open enrollment tabloid insert, educational videos, digital and social media campaigns, and a church component. The Michigan Chronicle is also recruiting and training volunteers to represent the campaign at churches, clubs, bars, grocery stores, block club meetings and other community gatherings.

    Another key element of the campaign is connecting the uninsured with “navigators,” individuals who are unbiased and trained to assist people in “navigating” the new online Health Insurance Marketplace.

    The campaign will kick off in late September with a town hall meeting of community and health care industry experts.

    For more information about the “Got You Covered” campaign, or to become a community partner or volunteer, contact the Michigan Chronicle at (313) 963-5522.


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