The last few months of the year bring annual rituals and routines, such as going trick or treating or gathering for Thanksgiving dinner. But these days the Outreach and Enrollment Team at Piedmont Health has two other year-end routines on their mind – assisting patients to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and for Medicare. These free services by Piedmont Health are open to the whole community.
The Medicare enrollment period is Oct. 15 – Dec. 7. The Affordable Care Act enrollment period is Nov. 1-Dec. 15.
Enrolling in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is never simple. But the process might be especially confusing this year because of all the controversy in Washington over repealing and replacing the law, according to Karen Nelson Frazier, Lead Outreach and Enrollment Coordinator for Piedmont Health Services.
If people have questions about the ACA, it is best to schedule an appointment with one of Piedmont Health’s Outreach and Enrollment Coordinators.
“We’re talking with patients we’ve helped in the past” and explaining the current state of the law,” Frazier said.
Piedmont’s Outreach and Enrollment Team reminds patients that they must re-enroll in the ACA every year, even if they already are enrolled. Patients can go to healthcare.gov and enroll themselves, but team members encourage them to come in to a Piedmont community health center to get help with enrollment she said.
“You can get one question wrong and it can mess up your whole application,” Frazier said.
Piedmont Health has Outreach and Enrollment Team members at most of the community health centers, and patients can make appointments, she said. It is best to call for an appointment so a person knows what documents to bring when they sign up for the insurance.
As for Medicare enrollment, Piedmont can help patients more than ever this year because their outreach team members are all certified in providing enrollment under the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP), Frazier said.
As with the ACA, patients can go online (www.ncshiip.com) and enroll on their own, but Piedmont outreach team members are there to help, Frazier said. “It’s best to come in and see a counselor,” she said. “We can give that one-on-one talk and answer any questions.” County senior centers also have SHIIP counselors to help people with Medicare also.
“Anyone who has turned 65 in the past year must enroll in Medicare. Many do not understand that Medicare is a program for which anyone is eligible as long as they worked in a job in which FICA taxes were withdrawn from their wages”, Frazier said. And many also do not understand the importance of enrolling in Part D insurance (prescriptions) as well as Part A (Hospitals) and Part B (Medical), she added.
Also, while patients do not have to re-enroll every year, they do have to re-enroll if they want to make changes in their Medicare advantage plan.
Piedmont Health is offering free Medicare workshops
Contact information for Piedmont’s Outreach and Enrollment Team is below:
CARRBORO COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER
301 Lloyd Street
Carrboro, NC 27510
(919) 724-5227 *Bilingual
CHARLES OREW COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER
221 N. Graham Hopedale Road Burlington, NC 27217-2971
(336) 260-2720 *Bilingual
MONCURE COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER
7228 Moncure-Pittsboro Road
Moncure, NC 27559 (919) 710-1554
PROSPECT HILL COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER
322 Main Street
Prospect Hill, NC 27314
(336) 639-0427 *Bilingual
SCOTT COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER
5270 Union Ridge Road Burlington, NC 27217
SILER CITY COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER
224 South l0th Avenue
Siler City, NC 27344
ALL LOCATIONS: (919) 619-5457