CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTRF) – Around 6.7% of West Virginians do not have health insurance, and West Virginia Navigator is a free, grant-funded program to help people find and sign up for health insurance in the Mountain State.

They have recently received a portion of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 98.9 million dollars in grant funding for navigator organizations. 

Last year they were selected for a 3-year renewal. 

They are in year two of this grant and were able to receive an increase in funding this year. 

WV Navigator is operated by First Choice Services, which is a nonprofit organization that runs most of West Virginia’s social service health lines.

Navigator is an unbiased program where people can get free advice and assistance to be able to sign up for health insurance when they are unable to receive it through a place of employment. 

Program director, Jeremy Smith, is grateful for the funding and says it is being put to good use. 

”We’ve been able to open up additional offices around the state, expand our travel budget, and really try to get the word out so that people know that if they need health insurance, that there’s a free program that can assist them.”

Jeremy Smith – WV Navigator Program Director

They currently have around 20,000 people in the state that get insurance from their Marketplace plans through the Affordable Care Act that has been around since 2013. 

The annual open enrollment period is coming up on November 1, 2022 and goes until January 15, 2023.