‘Navigators’ Work To Help Tennessee Valley Residents Enroll In Health Care Coverage

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- Several people across the Tennessee Valley are working to answer questions and get residents who qualify signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act before the March 31st deadline.

Toni McGriff is a navigator for the Affordable Care Act. She's also the president of  Progressive Women of Northeast Alabama.

McGriff and two other members of her group have been working in several counties to make sure anyone who has questions about signing up for health care coverage through the ACA gets answers.

"An awful lot of people can't go online, don't have computers, can't do it for themselves," McGriff says.

So they decided to help, and became trained navigators for the ACA. "We are trained to help people access the website, and navigate through it," McGriff says.

They have answered questions as well as countless phone calls, and ultimately signed up quite a few Tennessee Valley residents.

But McGriff says there are a number of people who can't get insurance who fall into the Medicaid gap.

Alabama is one of the states that didn't expand Medicaid when given the option.

Governor Robert Bentley chose not to expand Medicaid because he says while the federal government would cover the initial cost of the expansion, it would eventually fall on the state to cover the tab and he says the state just doesn't have the money.

Joann Cummings is also a navigator. She says she deals with people who are classified in that gap often.

"There's a lot of working poor people in Alabama who just don't make enough money to go into the marketplace but they would have been getting Medicaid," Cummings said.

With the deadline to sign up for health care coverage on Monday, March 31, both of these navigators say time is of the essence for those who can enroll, and for every question, they are quick with an answer.

There are navigators in several Tennessee Valley counties. 

Those counties with the appropriate contact information to enlist a navigator's help are below.

DeKalb, Jackson and Marshall Counties - pwnavigators@gmail.com (256) 674 - 3145

Morgan and Limestone Counties - joannc1972@charter.net

Lauderdale County - EnrollTheShoals@gmail.com (256) 856 - 9810

Madison and all other north Alabama counties - EnrollHuntsville@gmail.com