Newspaper article

MNsure Navigator: 'Doing Group Enrollment Events Has Really Worked Well'

Newspaper article

MNsure Navigator: 'Doing Group Enrollment Events Has Really Worked Well'

Article excerpt

Part of a series of first-person accounts relating to news events of 2013.

Rebecca Lozano is a certified MNsure navigator and the outreach program manager of Portico Healthnet, an organization that has assisted people with finding health coverage for nearly two decades, mainly focusing on public programs.

Portico received a $378,000 outreach grant from MNsure in October, which allowed them to hire four full-time navigators on top of their existing staff. The organization has so far helped nearly 300 people get coverage for Jan. 1.

Lozano recalls the first outreach event she did in mid-October, where she helped a roomful of people at the Dakota County Public Library in Apple Valley begin accessing health coverage:

It was really kind of a computer-lab type setting . ... All and all, I think there were 27 people there that night... so we had really good turnout for the event. Most people were able to create accounts, so most people actually got enrolled, but it was still rather early, so we didn't necessarily know a lot about strategies in working with the application and the system and things like that.

I remember one family in particular that their daughter was now going to be eligible for Medical Assistance and didn't have any type of insurance prior to that, so they were really excited about it. ...

MNsure is a huge deal. MNsure is probably the biggest deal that I can think of. ... It's really the biggest impactful change in health care since Medicare. The ability for somebody to go and essentially get their own health care, get their eligibility determination in real time is a really, really big deal for people.

Prior to Oct. 1... we were getting people enrolled in many of the state health care programs, in addition to helping people find any community resources. And also enrolling people in our alternative- care coverage program that we have at Portico, so we work constantly to connect people with the right program at the right time. And that's what Portico has been doing for the past 19 years.

I think we kind of anticipated [changes from the Affordable Care Act] before it even happened. …

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