Free help with Affordable Care Act insurance

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Applicant Lloyd Brown listens to Barbara Bloomfield, a certified application counselor, at St. Elizabeth's Wellness Center.

Do you need help finding Affordable Care Act health insurance?

If you do, the Dec. 15 deadline to sign up is around the corner. And there's a local nonprofit financial counseling service, Clarifi, that can help.

It assists Philadelphians with this tricky task, and appointments are free.

Clarifi will help you enroll in Affordable Care Act health coverage and take advantage of all subsidies to lower costs.

Clarifi is stationed at community locations in Chester, Delaware, and Philadelphia Counties throughout the week, and is focusing on Philadelphia since the uninsured rate is higher in this region.

"We receive all sorts of calls with questions about applying for health insurance and the enrollment process. Many people call in because their current premium is unaffordable and they want to find out about their options," said Shawn Needham, spokesman for Clarifi in Center City.

Many people are also worried their current plan will no longer be available if the Affordable Care Act changes or is repealed under the new administration.

"We assure them that nothing has changed yet and they will most likely be able to keep whatever plan they select through 2017," he adds.

Clarifi's recent calls are mostly from those trying to get themselves and their families enrolled in health insurance for Jan. 1, 2017.

What inspired Clarifi to set up the Navigation program?

"We got involved with health-care navigation through our partnership with Public Health Management Corporation. We saw many clients struggle with debt because they lacked health insurance, so we wanted to offer an option where people could get help with enrolling in coverage and reducing their costs," Clarifi president Patricia Hasson said.

"As a personal finance agency, there is value in helping people consider their budget and finances while they were choosing coverage," Hasson said.

"Your physical health and financial health are closely connected. Our goal is to help people make health coverage a priority because it helps individuals remain financially stable overall," she adds.

In turn, people who have less financial stress tend to be less vulnerable to health issues overall.

Clarifi has a toll-free number (800-989-2227) and offices around Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs.

Visit the Clarifi website (www.clarifi.org) or one of its local offices for a free appointment at these locations:

Mondays: CareerLink at Chester City; 701 Crosby St., Suite B, Chester, Pa. 19013.

9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Health insurance appointments and walk-ins

10-11 a.m.: Health insurance enrollment workshop

Tuesdays: Holsey Church; 5305 Germantown Ave., No. 15, Philadelphia 19144.

9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Health insurance appointments and walk-ins

Thursdays: Delaware County Community College; 901 Media Line Rd., Media, Pa. 19063.

9 a.m.-1 p.m.: Counseling in cafeteria

Thursdays: CareerLink at Exton; 479 Thomas Jones Way, Suite 500, Exton, Pa. 19341.

9 a.m.-3 p.m.: Health insurance appointments and walk-ins.

3-4 p.m.: Health insurance enrollment workshop.

More Carrier Deals?

Can President-elect Donald Trump boost overall growth by cutting more individual deals with Corporate America?

One economist says no.

OECD economist Catherine L. Mann last week addressed the Global Interdependence Center at the Philadelphia Federal Reserve and said: "We don't need more Carriers. [That deal] is not going to be helpful in the long run."

Instead, the United States and other developed economies need sustainable expansionary growth, including spending on roads and bridges, R&D and child-care tax credits, and to take advantage of historically low interest rates by borrowing responsibly.

In addition, Trump's war of words with China, a trade war, or unraveling of trade agreements of the last 10 years would be "very damaging," she said.

CFA Society Forecasts

The CFA Society of Philadelphia will host its annual Forecast Dinner on Jan. 12. CNBC anchor Bob Pisani will moderate, and panelists Ted Aronson, Richard Bernstein, and Tobias Levkovich will offer thoughts on financial markets and the economy for the year ahead.

This year's event will be at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown, 17th and Race Streets in Center City. To register or for information, visit the CFA Society's website (www.cfasociety.org/philadelphia).

earvedlund@phillynews.com

215-854-2808 @erinarvedlund