“Beacon of hope” honored for life-saving efforts to get families health insurance

WYOMING — A Wyoming woman earned national attention for her efforts to help families find affordable health insurance. Cynthia Nunley has worked more than a decade with Enroll Wyoming, a nonprofit that offers free help for people to explore health coverage options. She is one of 10 people in the country highlighted as a role model for health insurance assistance.

“We are on the frontline helping consumers who often have no other place to go,” Nunley said.

She received this honor from Beyond the Basics, a nonprofit policy organization whose work focuses on better understanding Medicaid, the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and marketplace health coverage. It recognized 10 honorees as part of its 10th anniversary celebration of the Affordable Care Act.

Nunley is based in Casper but has traversed the state as a navigator answering questions that allow families to make informed decisions. At one point, Nunley was the only navigator serving Wyoming, noted fellow Navigator Festi Edwards, who nominated her for the recognition.

“Cynthia Nunley has been a beacon of hope since the beginning of the Affordable Care Act and is still going strong, saving lives 10 years later,” Edwards wrote. “She works selflessly, tirelessly, and with great passion to find, educate, and assist consumers, always going the extra mile to help.”

Nunley customizes her work based on an individual’s needs or priorities. This may include enrolling people in the health insurance marketplace, which is designed to make coverage more accessible and affordable. Nunley is quick to praise the impact of the health insurance marketplace. She said the very first person enrolled through the Enroll Wyoming grant needed a life-saving operation and was able to get it after qualifying for a health insurance plan with cost-sharing reductions. Without the procedure, the woman’s doctor predicted she would have died in months.

The marketplace open enrollment period is approaching. This window from Nov. 1 to Jan. 15 is when a majority of people sign up for or renew health coverage. Afterward, they must meet special criteria to sign up for health insurance.

When asked to share her experience with the Beyond the Basics audience, Nunley said she may not always be able to get people health insurance, but the support she provides should give consumers sufficient knowledge and empowerment to change their lives.

In addition to garnering accolades as an assister, Nunley is a retired teacher, plays in the Casper Municipal Band, and is an organizer/board member for the annual state Native American Education Conference.

To get in touch with Cynthia Nunley or another Enroll Wyoming navigator, visit enrollwyo.org or call 211.

This project is supported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $3.95 million with 100 percent funded by CMS/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CMS/HHS, or the U.S. government.