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UAlbany School of Social Welfare Students Help Communities Navigate Healthcare Options

Navigators currently accepting appointments for 2015 enrollment

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 6, 2014) -- The University at Albany's School of Social Welfare (SSW) is playing an integral role in helping Capital Region individuals, families and businesses understand their healthcare options through the Affordable Care Act. The School is once again partnering with the Community Service Society (CSS) to support enrollment efforts via the NY State of Health marketplace health plans. The open enrollment period for 2015 begins on November 15, 2014. Individuals or families can make an appointment with one of UAlbany's navigators by calling (518) 442-3854 or by email at navigator@albany.edu.

UAlbany Navigator Program 2014
Spanish-speaking navigator Emma Horvath and navigator Jacob Miner review the NY State of Health website. (Photo Kelly Gross, School of Social Welfare)

Through the ‘Navigator’ program, SSW graduate students serve as frontline support to help community members navigate the health exchange enrollment process. Navigators at UAlbany provide free and unbiased information, with the objective of matching each person with an ideal plan that meets their physician, prescription, or other medical needs. The School is the only such school of its type in New York currently contracted in a navigator program.

In 2014, the first year of the program, UAlbany navigators helped hundreds of Capital Region residents enroll in a health insurance program through NY State of Health. The goal for 2015 is to enroll even more residents who are currently facing health insurance challenges.

"There is still a basic need for support in the Capital District as compared to other communities and regions," said Kelly J. Gross, director of UAlbany's Navigator Program. "Our navigators address the unmet needs of enrollment by putting in the time and commitment to help community members understand all of their options, and secure the best plan for themselves or their families."

The open enrollment period runs through December 15th for January 1st enrollment. The program continues until February 15, 2015. Individuals and families can also apply throughout the year for Medicaid expansion or in the case of a life event (such as job loss, marriage/divorce or birth of a child).

CSS has been awarded a grant by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) to provide in-person assistance and navigators at over 250 sites in 61 counties statewide. The School of Social Welfare, a subcontractor to CSS, helps individuals and small employers in the Capital Region, Columbia and Greene counties, understand coverage options offered through NY State of Health, as well as determine their eligibility for financial assistance, tax credits, and Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.