WILTON — Western Maine Community Action was recently awarded a $521,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help residents navigate options and enroll in health care coverage.

The coverage options are available through the federally facilitated marketplace under the Affordable Care Act.

Open enrollment begins Nov. 1 for coverage starting Jan. 1, 2016, according to the WMCA website. Appointments with navigators can be scheduled starting Oct. 1.

Navigators in Maine are available through eight community action agencies known collectively as the WMCA Community Action Navigator Consortium. WMCA serves as the lead for the statewide consortium.

WMCA received $475,000 in 2013 “to create a statewide network of education, outreach and enrollment assistance which is accessible to every uninsured and underinsured individual in Maine,” according to a news release from U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, announcing the grant award.

Over the past couple of years, the program of navigators in Maine has continued to target low- and moderate-income people, including young adults.

“The Affordable Care Act has helped provide thousands of Mainers with access to high-quality, affordable health care,” King said. “This grant funding will support Western Maine Community Action in its important mission to help people and their families across the state navigate their options and enroll in a health care plan that best suits their needs.”

Navigators help residents understand the options available, apply for and enroll in coverage through the marketplace and access programs that may lower their monthly health premiums, according to the WMCA website. It is a free service.

Currently celebrating its 50th year, “WMCA is a nonprofit community agency dedicated to the belief that people can help themselves when they have access to the appropriate resources, education and support,” according to the release.

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