People in Nebraska and southwest Iowa will now have an easy-to-use, new resource to find free, local help in learning about their health insurance options by calling the 2-1-1 service.
The 2-1-1 service, operated in Nebraska and southwest Iowa by United Way of the Midlands in Omaha, is a free and confidential service that helps people across North America find essential, local resources they need, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Resources include affordable housing, job training, food pantries, and addiction and prevention programs.
Now, when callers reach 2-1-1, they will hear an automated message prompting interested consumers to ask about finding health insurance coverage when connected with a call center representative. If the caller chooses, they can then be referred to free, local assistance like Certified Application Counselors or trained Navigators in their community who can help them compare health insurance plans sold through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
“For our neighbors who live near or in poverty, it’s exceptionally challenging to find the services that can help them stay healthy and address other critical needs,” said Shawna Forsberg, President and CEO of United Way of the Midlands. “2-1-1 is the place to call to make important connections to health care and other basic services.”
In-person assisters helped many of the 74,000 Nebraskans who purchased coverage through the Marketplace during the 2014-15 enrollment period. This year’s open enrollment period for insurance runs from November 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016.
“This new partnership with 2-1-1 will provide another way for Nebraskans to get free help finding the health coverage they need,” said Eric Savaiano, Statewide Coordinator for Enroll Nebraska. “2-1-1 has proven to be a wonderful resource for people to find essential services across the U.S., and we’re excited to add their participation to help more Nebraskans explore their health coverage options and find a plan that works for their family.”
Anyone referred to local health coverage enrollment assistance through 2-1-1 will also receive a follow up call within two weeks to learn the outcome of their efforts to get health insurance and remind the consumer of ways to get covered.