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Navigators Gear Up To Guide You Through Health Insurance Marketplace

sandra_luz.jpeg
Lauren Silverman
/
KERA News
Sandra Luz is leading the training for about a dozen North Texas navigators — the in-person assistants who will help thousands across the state sign up for health insurance on the new federally-run marketplace. ";

Need help figuring out which health insurance plan on the marketplace is right for you? That’s where the Texas “navigators” come in. These in-person assistants will help thousands across North Texas sign up for health insurance. Meet Sandra Luz, one navigator leading a team in Dallas.

Luz has filled out thousands of Children’s Health Insurance Program applications. For ten years, she’s worked with the Community Council of Greater Dallas (CCGD) helping families access health benefits.

Now, it’s time to learn more.

“I know it’s a challenge,” she says, “But I’m so excited about it.”

The federal government gave Texas $11 million to hire and train navigators across the state. United Way of Tarrant County received the largest award, $5.8 million, and distributed the majority of that cash to CCGD to hire and train navigators.

[More From KERA News: Money To Train Health Insurance Navigators Is Here]

CCGD has so far hired almost ten people who will spread the word about the health insurance marketplace at community events and in one-on-one conversations.

Marjorie Petty, federal Health and Human Services director for Texas – says the navigators role will be to answer questions such as “What is a deductible, what is a copay, what does that mean for me?” she says.

“The navigator cannot tell the person which plan to pick," Petty emphasizes, “But they can educate and inform. “

With half a million people uninsured in Dallas alone, there will be no shortage of customers.

“It’s going to be busy, maybe very busy, but we’re ready,” navigator Sandra Luz says.

Want to find a navigator near you? 

Visit Healthcare.gov, or go here.

[More From KERA News: Obamacare 101: How The Texas Health Insurance Marketplace Will Work]

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.