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Health insurance to be topic of luncheon

Lawanda Richardson, Selma Field Navigator for Enroll Alabama, hangs up healthcare posters around her office Thursday afternoon. (Daniel Evans | Times-Journal)

Lawanda Richardson, Selma Field Navigator for Enroll Alabama, hangs up healthcare posters around her office Thursday afternoon. (Daniel Evans | Times-Journal)

Enroll Alabama is hosting a Lunch and Learn event next week to help answer the community’s questions about health insurance and how to qualify for a special enrollment period.

The lunch will take place Thursday, July 31 from noon to 1 p.m. at the Larry Striplin Performing Arts Center located at 1000 Selma Ave. The meeting will specifically address how a person without health insurance can qualify for a special enrollment period, allowing them to obtain insurance although the open enrollment period has ended.

“My big thing is health care is now like car insurance. That’s how I like to explain it to individuals, so they can better understand it,” said LaWanda Richardson, Selma Field Navigator for Enroll Alabama. “It’s a law and if you don’t have it when you need it then you are penalized, so you have to pay a fine … It’s that big to where you have to have it.”

The meeting, which is a collaborative effort with councilman Michael Johnson, will explain how those in the community can get the most from the Affordable Care Act between open enrollments and how a person without health insurance can qualify for a special enrollment period. The open enrollment period for 2014 started October 1, 2013 and ended on March 31 of this year, so now the only way for one to sign up for health insurance is to have a special qualification or circumstance.

“Specifically, we will explain how a person without health insurance can qualify for a special enrollment period, thus enabling them to obtain insurance on the Health Insurance Marketplace at any time,” said Sonja Smith, Project Coordinator for Enroll Alabama, in a press release. “We will also discuss how consumers who are currently enrolled in health insurance can get the most from their policies, along with when and how to report certain life changing events.”

The special enrollment qualifications include anyone who lost coverage within the last 60 days or will lose it within 60 days, getting married, having a baby, going through a divorce, adopting a child, death, moving outside of the health coverage area, having a change in income, gaining U.S. citizenship and being released from incarceration.

The lunch is free and open to the public, but anyone wanting to participate must RSVP by July 28, 2014 at 12 p.m. by emailing enrollSelma@gmail.com.