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Second Group of DC Health Link Assisters Now Trained to Help Residents Sign Up for Health Insurance

Nearly 200 People Will Assist Consumers with Health Coverage Options

DC Health Link | 10/11/2013, 11:33 a.m.
Nearly 100 DC Health Link Assisters have completed 30 hours of comprehensive training and are ready to help residents use ...
The second graduating class of DC Health Link Assisters (Courtesy of DC Health Link)

Nearly 100 DC Health Link Assisters have completed 30 hours of comprehensive training and are ready to help residents use DCHealthLink.com to shop for quality, affordable health insurance. These women and men bring the total number of trained Assisters to approximately 200.

“DC Health Link Assisters are already hard at work helping residents across the District to get answers to their questions and help them enroll,” said Mila Kofman, J.D., executive director of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority. “With this new group of trained experts, we will be able to provide help to every person who wants in-person, top-notch personalized assistance. Assisters are trusted voices and sources of information in their communities and they are our boots on the ground.”

In September, the first group of Assisters completed the five-day training course and is helping residents already. Assisters are working closely with DC Health Link registered insurance brokers who are available to provide advice, including recommendations for specific health plans, depending on a person’s needs.

All DC Health Link Assisters completed more than 30 hours of coursework and training developed and provided by Whitman-Walker Health and Families USA. Assisters were also trained in privacy and security procedures to protect residents’ personal information and all Assisters must pass criminal background checks – including fingerprinting – before certification.

In August, the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority awarded grants totaling $6.4 million to over 30 community-based organizations to support training the Assisters, and to enable them to further help the uninsured and hard-to-reach District residents and small businesses learn about their health insurance options through DC Health Link.

District residents and small business owners are now able to shop for health insurance through DCHealthLink.com, and those who sign up for insurance and pay their first premium by Dec. 15 will have coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2014. Small businesses must pay by Dec. 12 to have coverage become effective Jan. 1, 2014. Open enrollment will continue through Mar. 31, 2014. Small businesses with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees can go to DCHealthLink.com to create an account, choose plan options for their workers, provide employee information, and establish an open enrollment period for their company. During open enrollment there are no minimum contribution requirements toward employee coverage. Since DC Health Link opened for business on October 1, nearly 10,000 individuals and families and another 300 small businesses have created secure accounts that allow them to shop for health insurance coverage.