EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - During this year's open enrollment period, thousands of East Texans have tried to understand the complex world of health care insurance and its changes. A health care navigator with Burke tells us they're offering answers and options to the East Texas community.
The open enrollment period is now underway bringing changes along with it. Even experts admit that new information and policies can be overwhelming.
"I would say the average American has no idea what their policy covers, what they are signing up for, what doctors are in the network, what their co-pay means, " said Eddy Furniss M.D. of Furniss Family Medicine.
"With insurance language, you're talking about deductibles, co-payments. They are just like what? Can you just tell me what the best deal is?" said Alejandra Padierna, the Lead Navigator of health care at Burke.
Consumers seeking coverage have started reconsidering their healthcare needs.
"I have to step back and take a good long look at the medicines me and my wife take, the amount of healthcare that we use, and try to figure out a way for it to work for both of us," said Daniel Meyers, an Angelina County resident.
After consistent lay-offs, even more Angelina County residents are left without coverage, looking for answers.
"I can understand people being confused or frustrated or freaking out," Padierna said.
With the assistance of a state grant, Burke is offering answers to the questions so many ask.
"It's a very confusing subject for a lot of people, and I think it's important for people to know that we are here in their community to help them," Padierna said.
Padierna said the penalty of not having healthcare is one source of confusion.
"People think that's probably not a lot I'll take the penalty. What they don't realize is it increases each year. Next year it will be $325 per adult, next $625," Padierna said.
She said Burke is not only available to answer healthcare questions, but to also offer healthcare options.
"It depends on someone's needs, what they are looking at getting, their budget. That's how we work closely with them so they can make the best informed choice," Padierna said. "It's absolutely free."
Padierna said guidance through healthcare plans is one call away.
"Hopefully, it can be something that benefits our community because I just can't tell you how many people we've been able to help," Padierna said.
Wednesday, KTRE will be live at Burke hosting the KTRE Healthcare hotline. Navigators and application counselors will be there from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. to answer all healthcare questions free of charge at 844-692-8753.