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Open Enrollment For Obamacare Is Back

Lauren Silverman
Sandra Luz is the lead health care navigator at the Community Council of Greater Dallas.

Despite a very rocky start to open enrollment last year, more than 733,000 Texans bought insurance through the federal marketplace.

Still, Texas remains the state with the highest percent of uninsured people in the country. Will open enrollment this year change that? 

More than a quarter of those who signed up for health insurance in the Lone Star State were in North Texas. And many North Texans got help signing up from “navigators” who trained at the Community Council of Greater Dallas.

So what's a navigator? 

“Navigators are paid professional people who help people understand first what insurance is and then help them go into the online marketplace and enroll,” says executive director Martha Blaine.

The Community Council of Greater Dallas hired 13 navigators last year. This year, it hired 15.

Make An Appointment 

The best way to get in contact with a health care navigator is by making an appointment.

Blaine hopes more people call (the number is 214-650-7724) to set up an appointment to discuss questions about their current policy, and learn about signing up for the first time. 

“Everyone who has a current policy will have received a renewal letter in the mail,” Blaine says,  “We recommend that people all go online and take a look, even if you have a current policy, because there are some changes and you want to be sure that your choice for this year is your best choice.”

An Improved Website

And don’t worry about having to sign up on paper, Blaine says.

“The system is much improved, we are pleased to say.”

This year, Blaine explains, more people will be able to fill out a shorter, simpler form than last time, which she expects will prevent any backlogs and website crashes.

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.