CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Program Director with WV Navigator, a non-profit offering enrollment assistance for the Health Insurance Marketplace, says the first-ever Cover WV Day event saw a good response at over 40 locations around the state despite the bad weather Tuesday.

A multitude of different state health organizations teamed up with WV Navigator for the one-day, statewide event to offer a free and guided opportunity for those who don’t already have health insurance to sign up for a plan.

Program Director Jeremy Smith told MetroNews while five of the locations planning to be host to the event Tuesday had to shutdown due to the snow and wind in the northern and eastern parts of the state, the other locations were seeing a good turnout, as least.

“At the start of the day we had over 48 locations,” Smith said. “We’re already hearing from a lot of the locations that it’s becoming successful already, people are coming out, they’ve been able to meet with a number of people.”

Jeremy Smith

Smith said Cover WV Day blossomed from an idea to help raise awareness on the need to have health insurance, as well as showcase the various coverage options available to residents through Medicaid, CHIP, and on the Marketplace.

He said there are still a lot of people in the state in need of a health insurance plan.

“We still have about 100,000 people in the state who still don’t have health insurance, so we wanted to all come together and work to raise awareness and just kind of create this day to help as many people as possible,” he said.

Smith said along with more people being able to qualify for medical insurance than ever before, it may not be as much of a hit on their finances either, and encourages them to take another look.

“I think people may have checked out some of these programs in the past and felt like they couldn’t afford it, but there has been a lot of changes the past couple of years, the affordability is really the best that I have seen probably since this program started,” he said.

He said the last statistic on the latest health insurance affordability he saw was that about 4 in 5 people can start a plan this year at just under $10 a month when they get a plan on the Marketplace.

Smith said the Marketplace is worth checking into if you can’t get insured through a job, Medicaid, Medicare, or the VA, but people must sign up before Jan. 16.

He said they plan to make Cover WV an annual event, and a lot of motivation to do so comes from not only a good response from the communities across the state, but the many health organizations within those communities willing and able to help them put on the event, and help to grow it the size that it has already gotten.

“When we first had the idea to do this we thought maybe we’d get 15 locations, maybe 20, and we really just had a lot of buy-in from other non-profits, other community groups,” said Smith.

He said the West Virginia Primary Care Association and the Office of the Insurance Commissioner are among those who were a vast help in putting the event on.