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Healthcare Marketplace now open

1healthcareIMG-600It's here. Open enrollment for the health insurance marketplace debuted today (oct. 1), meaning that most Tennesseans who are uninsured can begin shopping in the new online destination.

Starting today through the end of March, individual and family policies will be available via the Marketplace. For those who enroll by Dec. 15, coverage starts Jan. 1.

The Marketplace – a part of the Affordable Care Act – has been described as "a one stop shop to find and compare private health insurance options." In Memphis and Shelby County, efforts are underway to heighten awareness.

"This is a complex issue affecting everyone in our community," said Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell Jr., in a statement issued Monday. "Staff at the Shelby County Health Department will assist by directing residents to the trained enrollment specialists."

To assist residents in determining eligibility and enrolling into the plan of their choice, "navigators" (or enrollment specialists) are available through Seedco, Memphis Health Center and Christ Community Health Centers.

On Monday, a Get Covered Memphis Kick-off – led by Mayor A C Wharton Jr. – was held at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library in anticipation of the open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Handouts with information about the transition were distributed. In addition, organizations interested in supporting outreach efforts were able to sign-up and connect with local qualified staffers.

More information sessions are planned. Here is a list:

Oct. 1, 4 p.m.-5 p.m., Benjamin Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Ave.

Oct. 3, 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m., Hooks Central Library.

Oct. 8, 4 p.m.-5 p.m., Frayser Library, 3712 Argonne St.

Oct. 9, 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Frayser Library

Oct. 22, 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m., Whitehaven Library, 4120 Mill Branch Rd.

Oct. 24, 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Whitehaven Library

For more information about upcoming events, visit www.seedco.org and click on Health Care Access, or call 901-528-8341,

The Health Department encourages uninsured residents to visit www.healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596, where operators are available 24 hours a day to answer questions.

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