Residents in North Carolina have a new resource to help them enroll in the new health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

Starting Monday, October 14, uninsured and underinsured North Carolinians can call a state-wide hotline at 1-855-733-3711 to connect with a healthcare navigator in their community.

Scott Edmonds is with MDC, a non-profit organization based in Durham.  MDC is among several non-profits throughout N.C. that received funding from the federal government to pay for healthcare navigator positions.

Edmonds says the hotline will allow participants to schedule a face to face appointment with a trained navigator in their community.

The navigators will also screen callers to see if they are eligible for other federal and state healthcare programs, and provide information about pursuing tax credits and reductions.

Edmonds says more than 30 community healthcare centers in the state also received a federal grant to add an enrollment specialist to their staffs. But Edmond says not everyone will be able to schedule an appointment right away through the state hotline.

In the meantime, Edmonds says local agencies such as  the United Way of Forsyth County are collaborating with healthcare leaders and other organizations to help provide more trained navigators and enrollment specialists in their communities.

Enrollment in the new healthcare market will be open through March 31, 2014. For those who enroll before December 15 of this year, coverage will begin on January first.

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