Counselors trained to help you navigate federal healthcare law - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Counselors trained to help you navigate federal healthcare law

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MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

If you don't understand the new federal healthcare law, you're not alone. There are people being trained to help others find their way, and it comes just as a key part of the law goes into effect.

A new online exchange will enable people who don't have health insurance to shop for the best plan beginning Oct. 1, but plenty of questions remain.

David Pearce lives at home after he was laid off in February, but his unemployment checks will run out soon.

He's anxious to find out how much he'll have to pay for health insurance premiums under the Affordable Care Act.

"I'm looking at paying $300, $400 a month. Not bad - about what you would pay if an employer is paying for half of it," Pearce said.

While he will fill out his own application, others may turn to people like Catie McIntyre, a certified application counselor.

She's paid by a government grant by the nonprofit United Neighborhood Health Services, and we wanted to know how much training these counselors get.

"The required part for a certified application counselor is only estimated to take about five hours. But then there are additional optional training sessions that aren't required that take some extra time," McIntyre said.

After the required training, each counselor has to pass an exam before they are certified.

United Neighborhood Health Services is offering its counselors more training because this is a complex healthcare system that will not be easy to negotiate.

"Because even with the trainings, there are still a lot of questions," McIntyre said.

They are questions that people like Pearce have an intense interest in finding out, including what exactly the premiums will be.

"I don't have my mind wrapped around all of that yet," he said.

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