As COVID-19 turned our country (and the world for that matter) upside down, many people became unemployed but still needed health insurance to cover their loved ones. That alone can cause stress, worry, sleepless nights and a whole lot of questions. Where do I go to get health insurance? Am I eligible? Is my family eligible? Who do I turn to for help? Is health insurance even available? All great questions. The good news is that  Massachusetts has extended the Open Enrollment period for health insurance sign-up, until May 23. So you can sigh a breath of relief. To help you move the process along of filling out the application, Community Health Programs (CHP) Affordable Care Act counselors are available and ready to assist you with the application process.

If you became unemployed due to Covid and this process feels a bit foreign to you, you are not alone. As a matter of fact, since the annual Open Enrollment period began on Nov. 1, CHP has counted a marked increase in requests for health insurance assistance: Between Nov. 1, 2020 and Jan. 31,2021, CHP’s insurance team assisted 701 people with applications for new insurance or re-enrollment in existing health plans.

During the same period-November 2019 through January 2020, CHP assisted 458 clients. Again, Covid is the driving factor here.

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Local Certified Patient Navigator at CHP, William Cruz, made the following statement:

Covid is the main reason, because people who have lost jobs wanted to make sure they and their loved ones still have health coverage. We’ve also added two additional patient navigators and have done a good job of getting the word out that we are here to help.

If you need assistance with Affordable Care Act insurance coverage you can email enrollment@chpberkshires.org, or call (413) 717-6268 and take a breath of fresh air as brighter days await you.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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