A new toll-free telephone number that UnityPoint Health Trinity introduced to the public Monday is getting calls for help from Quad-City area residents who hope to enroll in health insurance coverage.

The new number is 888-275-5235.

It is connected to 17 certified counselors employed by Trinity, said Pam Samuelson, the director of media relations. These counselors are able now to set up health insurance appointments at Trinity facilities in both Iowa and Illinois.

All of those counselors are certified to help residents learn about the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare. They may explain the federal program, the health insurance marketplaces in both Illinois and Iowa, qualified health plans, eligibility, premium tax credits, cost-sharing reductions and the penalties for not signing up.

There is no cost involved.

"Many times a person without insurance doesn't seek care until a minor issue becomes a full-blown problem," said Rick Seidler, Trinity's president and CEO.

Enrollments aided by the counselors are not affected by problems with the government's website, healthcare.gov, Samuelson said. That's because the counselors use paper applications to complete the enrollment process if the online site is not available.

Those who make an appointment with a counselor should bring:

  • Their Social Security number or document numbers for legal immigrants.
  • Employer and income information for household members applying for coverage, such as pay stubs and W-2 forms, or wage and tax statements.
  • Policy numbers for current insurance plans held by members of the household.
  • An employee coverage tool sheet that is available online at unitypoint.org/marketplace, completed for every job-based plan that a household member is eligible for, even if they are not currently enrolled.

Samuelson said most appointments are being done on the Trinity campuses in Moline, Rock Island, Bettendorf and Muscatine. Office suites have been set aside at each campus for privacy purposes.

Going forward, some of the counselors also will host informational sessions away from those sites, she added.