Health Insurance Marketplace holds open enrollment on November 1 – January 16, 2023. Make sure you’re covered today!
Jennifer exudes positive energy, and her vibe is contagious. Jennifer works as one of United Way of Anchorage’s healthcare navigators.
“I love talking to people,” she laughs. “Can you tell?”
Our healthcare navigators receive training to connect Alaskans with health insurance and healthcare assistance, which Jennifer points out aids their financial stability too. Help is provided free, with confidentiality and unbiased information. They offer consultations over the phone, on video calls and in-person.
Jennifer says that every healthcare navigator has a “why” for doing this work. Some of them start with their “why” already defined. She did. Others quickly gain one.
“One year, my family didn’t have health insurance,” Jennifer says. She recounts being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. “I had to run lots of tests, and we racked up so many medical bills. Then, they told me it was a misdiagnosis,” she says. “Of course, it was a huge relief, but we still had to pay for everything.” Jennifer determined she would never go without health insurance again.
Since becoming a healthcare navigator, she has helped many people secure health insurance, often being brought to tears. “I’ve heard so many heartbreaking stories from clients that I’ve started saying I’m going to expense Kleenex.”
She’s met grandparents ensuring their grandchildren have health insurance. She’s helped people who fell off of Medicaid get back on so they can resume their life-saving prescriptions. She’s worked with immigrants who are thrilled to have translators explain their healthcare options in their own languages since we provide translation services. Those are just some of Jennifer’s meaningful interactions. Read other powerful stories coming out of United Way.
She goes on to mention helping a woman at a health fair who spoke Spanish, stating emphatically, “Do not underestimate the power of a rack card!” Jennifer says she only knew enough of the language to share some information and give her that card.
The woman held onto it for more than six months. Recently, she called Jennifer and asked to meet to find out about health insurance coverage for her niece and nephew. When the woman arrived, she held up the rack card. “That’s how she remembered our service,” Jennifer says, nodding happily.
She doesn’t always hear back from people she’s talked to. Sometimes clients follow up to share medical victories, though. On the day Jennifer talked about her job as a healthcare navigator, she’d heard from a family whose baby was just born. While Jennifer mentions the good news, her iPhone dings.
“Hey, that’s the nephew I was just telling you about!” she exclaims.
Our team cares passionately about people seeking healthcare. Now that open enrollment is here, if you need help signing up for or have questions about health insurance, contact our healthcare navigators. Like Jennifer, they want to be there for you.