Volunteers train to help with online marketplace

The online marketplace went live last week – it’s where you can compare and buy different health insurance options, and see if you qualify for subsidies. But the marketplace has dealt with website glitches and a shortage of counselors to help people enroll, so western Wisconsin is trying to change that.

Nearly 200 people across the state this week are training to become certified application counselors that can help walk people through the online marketplace, compare different health insurance options that are out there and see if they qualify for subsidies.


It’s a 2-day session happening across Wisconsin and here in La Crosse, put on by the state Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. It’s also free.

“We need certified application counselors to pull this off, to make this work in the state of Wisconsin and actually throughout the nation,” said Jamie Christianson-Fawcett, area administrator for the Department of Health Services.

The state requires 16 hours of training and an exam, along with 5 hours of federal training and another exam. Once they finish, they can begin work as CACs.

Joan Scheffer drove nearly 2 hours from her job at Memorial Medical Center in Neillsville to take part in the training session.

“Me personally, it means a lot to me because there are a lot of people out there who need help and don’t know where to get it,” she said. “I feel it’s a very important issue, yes.”