Public health guides aim to help Grand County residents understand “ObamaCare”

Leia Larsen

Grand and Jackson counties will have public consultants available to help residents navigate the mandatory health care marketplace.

According to Jen Fanning, director of Grand County Rural Health Network, the trained employees will both educate and advise the community on the nuances of the Affordable Health Care Act, also called “ObamaCare,” set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

By October, insurance companies will begin competing to become individuals’ and businesses’ health care providers. In Colorado, that insurance marketplace will be directed and regulated through Connect for Health Colorado.

“The guides will provide unbiased feedback and education for the community at large,” Fanning said.

As employees of Grand County Rural Health Network — instead of private insurance companies — the guides serve as impartial advocates for the community, providing the most accurate and updated information available on federal mandates pertaining to health care coverage, according to Fanning.

A Connect for Health Colorado grant, provided through the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurses Association, will pay for the guides.

The employees will start sometime in August, designing programs and receiving training. In September, Fanning said they will hold town hall-style community education meetings. By Oct. 1, the guides will begin consultation appointments for individuals and small businesses, helping them find health insurance that best meets their needs.

“It’s still a moving target as to what’s going on with the federal government,” Fanning said. “We are here for the citizens of Grand County, advocating for what’s best for them.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.

Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.

If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.