Regardless of Income, Neighborhood Legal Services (NLS) Continues Unbiased Help for All Needing Health Insurance During Pandemic

Special Enrollment period for uninsured (or those about to be) extended to December 31

In the wake of the ongoing health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, trained and certified healthcare navigators of Neighborhood Legal Services (NLS) stand ready to help all Western New Yorkers get health insurance regardless of their income level.

The process of comparing your options can be complicated for those not familiar with using the New York State of Health website, which is the state’s health insurance marketplace.

Oftentimes, NLS healthcare navigators can quickly find better and more affordable options than consumers can get by themselves. Because so many people are losing these benefits, there is much more need to help them figure out the options. While normally NLS helps Western New Yorkers with limited incomes get health insurance, that’s changed for now.

“A once-in-a-century pandemic is an unusual situation, that’s why our navigators have the leeway to help anyone who asks, no matter how much money they make,“ says Penny Selmonsky, Deputy Director, Supervising Attorney, Health & Economic Security Unit at NLS. “If you need health insurance, we’re going help you get it no matter who you are!”

NLS provides this service free of any bias and at no cost to anyone in Erie, Niagara, Wyoming, Orleans, Genesee, and Chautauqua Counties. Many other companies, agencies, and insurers themselves offering “free” advice. However, not all their guidance is unbiased. Some have partnerships with specific insurance companies or are compensated differently depending on insurance company incentives or commissions.

The state extended the special enrollment period several times since the pandemic started, as more people have been fired and furloughed in the economic downturn.

For more information about the services that NLS Healthcare Navigators provide or to make an appointment to get immediate help in choosing health insurance, consumers can contact Neighborhood Legal Services (716) 847-0650 ext. 247 or

Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc. (NLS) is a not-for-profit agency providing free legal services to persons with low-income and persons with disabilities. NLS helps with domestic violence and other family law matters; health insurance; government benefits/SNAP/shelter/benefits counseling; Social Security Disability/SSI hearings; and evictions/housing conditions/housing discrimination matters.