Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently recognized more than 900 Champions for Coverage nationwide. These are organizations and businesses that have volunteered to help Americans without affordable insurance learn more and get coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, which opened for business Oct. 1 and will give consumers a whole new way to shop and purchase affordable, high-quality health coverage.

“A network of volunteers on the ground in every state–healthcare providers, business leaders, faith leaders, community groups, advocates, and local elected officials–can help spread the word and encourage their neighbors to get enrolled,” said Secretary Sebelius.

Champions for Coverage include national and local businesses and organizations–bloggers, community health centers, hospitals, communities of faith, and civic organizations. They will use publicly available materials from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)–both digital and in print–to help members of their communities understand their new options through the marketplace. There are many ways these organizations are helping, including providing information about the law in their offices, hosting education events, or posting information on their Websites. The growing list of organizations includes:

  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Nurses Association
  • Bon Secours Health System
  • Men’s Health Network
  • National Women’s Law Center
  • Lutheran Services in America
  • Thrifty White Pharmacy

In all states, there will be people trained and certified to help you understand your health coverage options and enroll in a plan. They will be known by different names, depending on who provides the service and where they are located. Using the “Find Local Help” tool, you can find information about assisters like navigators, application assisters, certified application counselors, and government agencies.

Consumers can also find help at local community health centers and libraries. The marketplace consumer call center is open 24 hours a day at (800) 318-2596, [hearing impaired callers using TTY/TDD, can dial (855) 889-4325], with translation services available in 150 languages. Visit HealthCare.gov or CuidadodeSalud.gov to learn more or participate in a live chat with a trained customer service representative.

Enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace continues for six months. Consumers can apply and choose a plan until the end of March, with coverage beginning as early as Jan. 1, 2014.

To see the list of Champions for Coverage visit: http://marketplace.cms.gov/help-us/champion.html. To join the growing list of Champions for Coverage, visit: http://marketplace.cms.gov/help-us/champion-apply.html.

In California, go to the website https://www.coveredca.com/events/index.html and click on certified educators for a list of people who can help.