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Health Department sessions help Northern Michigan navigate Health Insurance Marketplace

OCTOBER 24 Amid the controversies and technical difficulties surrounding the Health Insurance Marketplace, the Health Department of Northwest Michigan is upholding its commitment to assist Northern Michigan residents and families with education and enrollment. In addition to scheduling one-on-one appointments with those needing assistance, the Health Department is offering Health Insurance Marketplace educational sessions for up to 15 persons at a time; registration is required. Call the Health Department at (800) 432-4121 to schedule a one-on-one appointment or to register for an upcoming educational session in Charlevoix, Gaylord, Harbor Springs/Petoskey or Mancelona.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan, the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce and District Health Department #4 also welcomed Brett Williams, of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare, who led two Small Business Forums one in Petoskey, and one in Alpena earlier this week. The forums were developed to provide education for businesses of any size, with questions about the impact of the Affordable Care Act on employees and business practices.

Pat Borowiak, Public Health Technician Supervisor for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, is serving as the regional Lead Navigator for Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment.

"People are looking for answers," Borowiak said. "We want them to know they still have plenty of time to explore the options and decide what's best for them. The enrollment site has encountered setbacks, but that won't stop every eligible person from selecting and getting health insurance coverage. And it won't stop us from helping them navigate the process."

The Health Department also has a number of Certified Application Counselors (CACs) on its staff in Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego Counties, and can help people find CACs working in other health care facilities right in their own communities across all of Northern Michigan.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties. Call (800) 432-4121 to register for an educational session or for an appointment.

Brett Williams, of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare, discusses the impact of Affordable Care with local business stakeholders at North Central Michigan College in Petoskey.