Southside community groups hold first Healthcare Enrollment Fair

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William Shy was easy to pick out in the large meeting room at the Sabathani Community Center. Wearing a neon yellow winter hat, he was one of the first to arrive on day one of the Community Enrollment Fair: Get Southside Covered. The two-day event held on December 5th and 7th aimed to help people find and enroll in a health insurance plan in the new state healthcare marketplace, MNsure.

Technical difficulties with the website hindered the enrollment process on the first day of the enrollment fair. As a result, only three people completed the enrollment process. However, despite having to find workarounds, Native American Community Clinic Patient Advocate and MNsure navigator Sandee Lorentz was able to help Shy buy a new catastrophic plan. “It was an enduring process but worth it,” said Shy. He explained that he would save approximately $3,000 a year by purchasing a plan through the MNsure marketplace.

The fair was organized by Take Action Minnesota, CLUES, Southside Clinic, Sabathani Community Center, Cultural Wellness Center, and Planned Parenthood Minnesota and resulted in 17 people enrolling in healthcare coverage. With the MNsure website up and running on Saturday, the 7th, the thirteen navigators who came to assist community members were much better positioned to help those who came in to get free assistance.

Take Action organizers and partners are holding meetings this month to determine when the next enrollment fair will take place. For more information on future enrollment fairs, contact Liz Xiong at Take Action Minnesota at 651-379-0754 or lizx@takeactionminnesota.org. Take Action Minnesota is a community organization and is not affiliated with MNsure. Questions about the MNsure website should be directed to their call center at 1-855-3MNSURE.