• ‘Navigators’ answer health care questions
    By
     | December 08,2013
     
    Albert J. marro / Staff Photo

    Dan Jacobs, left, helps Deanne Moyer and Glen Moyer of Middletown Springs research their options in Vermont Health Connect at Castleton State College on Saturday. Jacobs is a navigator with the Department of Vermont Health Access.

    CASTLETON — Joe Squier arrived at Castleton State College on Saturday with a lot of questions about Vermont Health Connect.

    “Which network has more providers?” the 59-year-old Castleton resident wondered. “Is there a time limit for pre-existing conditions before it’s covered?”

    The college was hosting “Countdown to Coverage” — an event that took place at eight locations around the state Saturday — in which Vermont Health Connect “navigators” helped people figure out what sort of coverage they want under the new health care law and how to sign up for it.

    Similar events were held in Hinesburg, Hardwick, Orleans, Hyde Park, Townshend, Swanton and Randolph.

    Squier said his 40 minutes or so with a navigator were productive, and he came away with the answers he wanted.

    “One of the main things I was looking for was a paper application so I wouldn’t have to go through the computer,” he said. “I seem to have a lot of trouble with computers, so I prefer to have paper.”

    Squier was one of only two members of the public at the Castleton event at 1 p.m., but navigator Amy Failes, who was one of three staffers on-hand, said there had been about 15 people with questions through the course of the event.

    “We had quite a handful when we first opened at 10,” she said. “We had one other assister here. Everyone was helping and a couple of us were bouncing between folks.”

    Failes said the most common questions have to do with cost and how to make side-by-side comparisons of plans. She said she had yet to be stumped.

    “If I am unsure of an answer, there’s always a call center I can call,” she said. “Everyone I’ve worked with, people are leaving feeling very good about the process, feeling they are informed, like they know what to expect.”

    Failes also said media coverage of the difficulties with the federal health care website has given people false impressions about the state one.

    “Vermont’s site has been working for some time now and it’s fully functional,” she said.

    gordon.dritschilo@rutlandherald.com

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