Counselors offer free help to health insurance applicants

Published 5:49 pm Monday, November 25, 2013

Applying for health insurance and services might feel like climbing a paperwork mountain, but Lee Holman of Blue Ridge Community Health Services says help has arrived in Polk County.

“I think it’s a fairly intimidating process, and recent negative publicity makes it even more so,” Holman said. “Having an expert help with this process free of charge during set hours takes the intimidation out of the process.”

Certified application assistance counselors offer free services from 4-8 p.m. every Tuesday at the Polk County Library and from 1-5 p.m. every Wednesday at the Department of Social Services.

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“We will work with consumers from start to finish through the whole application process,” Holman said. “We will match people to the plan that works for them, with a needs assessment to determine their largest concerns, whether those concerns be price, the cost of prescriptions, or something else.”

The free service extends to Henderson, Polk, and Transylvania counties, and individuals can walk in to receive services or set an appointment time by calling 828-692-4289 extension 3.

“We have 15 people already certified or in the process of getting certification as experts in Polk County,” Holman said.  “They know all it takes to get enrolled, and they are experts in determining eligibility. They can guide consumers through the process step by step, set them up with phone calls, and even make the phone calls for consumers while they sit there with them.”

Some paperwork will need to be in hand to complete the application process, including a Social Security number, a form of identification, and filed taxes or projected plans to file taxes.

“We need to get the word out that we’re here to offer free help,” Holman said.