CRESTVIEW — Understanding health insurance options can be difficult — especially for residents who’ve never had coverage — but help is available for those who don’t know the difference between a premium and a pre-existing condition.


CRESTVIEW — Understanding health insurance options can be difficult — especially for residents who’ve never had coverage — but help is available for those who don’t know the difference between a premium and a pre-existing condition.



Barnes Insurance and Financial Services' Spencer Barnes and Drew Roberts, among others, are helping residents, at no charge, navigate the Health Insurance Marketplace website. Healthcare.gov is a result of the Affordable Care Act — commonly referred to as Obamacare — which President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010. Uninsured residents can visit the website and enroll for health insurance even with a pre-existing condition.



While Barnes and Roberts can’t solve widespread healthcare.gov glitches reported since the site’s launch, they have tried to separate fact from fiction.



For instance, numerous Americans have reported receiving calls from someone claiming to be from the federal government, saying they’re verifying personal information — including a bank account number — before an Affordable Care Act insurance card can be mailed, according to the Better Business Bureau. However, there are no Affordable Care Act insurance cards.



"There is a lot of conflicting information out there, so our goal is to educate people and let them know what is available to them," Roberts said.



Barnes and Roberts answered questions and advised residents on enrollment options Wednesday at the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce office.



Deb Winter, a retired widow, said she appreciates the information. Winter, who has been unable to find health coverage due to preexisting conditions for the past five years, said she was skeptical when she first learned about the Affordable Care Act.



"I was thinking (the government) was going to be able to charge you whatever they wanted to, but after being here (Wednesday), I am excited about it."



A licensed Healthcare Exchange certified agent will offer the same assistance from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 14 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Crestview Public Library. More dates will be added if necessary.



Local insurance agent Eric Riggenbach will offer information on Medicare and coverage options 10-11 a.m. and 2-3 p.m. Nov. 6 at the library. Space is limited; call 862-8082 to reserve a seat.



WANT TO GO?



WHAT:Health Insurance Marketplace information sessions



WHEN:10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Oct. 23



WHERE:Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce office, 1447 Commerce Drive



Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or matthewb@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.