Free health insurance support now available in northwest Kansas


COLBY, Kan. – (Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021)

Through funding provided by Thrive Allen County, two local organizations have partnered to provide free, in-person and virtual support for all residents of northwest Kansas who need help navigating the Health Insurance Marketplace.


“Healthcare and health insurance are complex subjects that give many people a lot of anxiety,” explains Travis Rickford, Director of LiveWell Northwest Kansas, the lead organization making these free services available. “But, in order to take care of your health and well-being, and that of your family, it’s so important to be aware of your options.


“We at LiveWell are so grateful for the support we’ve gotten from Thrive Allen County and for our partnership with Citizens Health of Colby. Together, we have been able to secure two trained Marketplace Navigators who will be able to help northwest Kansas people with Marketplace health insurance enrollment services.”


Now available as the only Marketplace Navigators offering support for the whole region are Julian Cadavid, a bilingual Care Coordinator at LiveWell, and Patient Resource Manager Valerie Ohlrogge of Citizens Health. Trained to provide nonbiased support, this free service is offered without affiliation towards any insurance company. There are three companies who offer insurance plans through the Marketplace, explained Ohlrogge: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, Ambetter by Sunflower, and Medica, who offers Advanced Premium Tax Credits. For the average Kansas median income, she continued, plans are less than $100 per month.


Ohlrogge stresses that Open Enrollment is from November 1, 2021, thru January 15. 2022. Additionally, in order to have coverage for the 2022 year, applicants must enroll in a plan by Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021.


Cadavid and Ohlrogge are on hand to help people and small businesses throughout the 12 northwestern-most Kansas counties learn about the Kansas Marketplace Exchange. They are trained to help people look for affordable health coverage options, can explain the different programs, help people learn about preventative health benefits, financial assistance, how to complete eligibility and enrollments forms, and more.


“And the best part is that our services are free,” exclaims Rickford.


“We’re excited to partner with Citizens Health in the implementation of this program,” he adds. “They have extensive experience offering this service already and their participation allowed for LiveWell to expand its reach throughout the entire region.


“When more northwest Kansas residents are insured, families are able to access important healthcare services that lead to an overall improved quality of life. We’re working hard to help people understand health insurance options and ensure everyone has access to affordable, quality healthcare and preventative services. It’s our goal to make sure uninsured people find coverage and take steps toward health and wholeness.”


Rickford says both Cadavid and Ohlrogge are certified and eager to begin meeting with people. Cadavid recently received his Navigator certification from the Center of Medicaid and Medicare Services and will be stationed in Goodland at the Goodland Regional Medical Center specialty clinic.


“Being able to speak both English and Spanish, I’m especially glad for the opportunity to help Hispanic and Latino families,” says Cadavid. “And, we’re also thankful that Goodland Regional Medical Center is able to provide space for me to meet with clients.”


Over the past eight years, Ohlrogge has worked as a Navigator or Certified Assister at Citizens Health.


“There are a lot of misconceptions about the Health Insurance Exchange,” says Ohlrogge. “Our goal is to inform people of the available resources in our area that could make a positive impact on their lives. LiveWell has a robust network of resources throughout northwest Kansas, so I’m genuinely grateful for this partnership as we work together to expand our services and see more people who we can help.”


People can contact Navigators Cadavid or Ohlrogge for a free appointment now. Cadavid, based in Goodland, can be reached at (785) 332-5927 or juliancadavid@nwksprevention.com. Ohlrogge is based in Colby and can be contacted at (785) 460-1777 or vohlrogge@cmciks.com. Both are able to support residents throughout the entire northwest Kansas community.

Learn more about LiveWell at www.livewellnwk.org.