September 12, 2018
Media Contact: Jody Young | 561-704-3912 | email@example.com
Jodi Ray, Director of Florida Covering Kids & Families, (FL-CKF) a community and consumer-focused nonprofit initiative of The Chiles Center, based in the College of Public Health at the University of South Florida, announced today that her organization has received a $1.25 million dollar award from the US Health and Human Service (HHS) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for a sixth year of Affordable Care Act enrollment and outreach programs, for the current project year beginning September 13, 2018.
On September 12, 2018, CMS released the funding announcement for the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace Navigators for 2018-2019, which reduced national funding to $10 million, and Florida’s funding to $1.25 million. This represents a 75% reduction for the FL-CKF statewide project from last year’s funding amount. The funding reduction has resulted in the elimination of a number of longstanding partners in the consortium and Navigators across the state. Additional online and telephonic assistance will hopefully allow the Covering Florida consortium to cover the anticipated demand for enrollment services. Research and experience shows that consumers are twice as likely to successfully enroll having in-person assistance as those who have attempted online without help. In addition, historically underserved communities have relied more on in-person assistance. Covering Florida is now the only CMS funded Navigator organization in the entire state of Florida.
Open Enrollment begins on November 1st this year and continues until December 15th for those needing coverage beginning January 1st, 2019. The 2019 Open Enrollment window will again be limited this year to six-weeks, so consumers need to be made aware of the earlier deadline.
Ray stated “Our network of Navigators is recognized nationally for the service they provide to the communities across the state of Florida, for their high-quality work and for the amazing number of consumers who have been helped in gaining coverage for the last several years. Our Navigators make an impactful difference in the lives of Floridians, and rest assured, we will continue our hard work and make best efforts on informing the public and helping them gain the coverage they deserve and access to the healthcare they need.”
Ray continued, “Our Navigators not only do outreach and sign-ups, but we help consumers update their accounts, resolve data matching issues, understand their coverage options and how to use the coverage, file appeals and exemptions, inform them on the impact of unpaid premiums, and refer them to health care providers and community resources. Because of the decreased resources for outreach and marketing we will need more help from the communities and from the media to make sure the Open Enrollment window and deadlines are widely shared and publicized.”
FL-CKF and its consortium partners have been providing Navigator services throughout the state of Florida since the first Open Enrollment period in 2013. The following partners comprise the 2018-2019 USF statewide consortium and are collectively known as "Covering Florida":
- Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida– Serving Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, St. Johns, and Volusia counties
- Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida– Serving Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee, Sarasota, Highlands, Hardee, and Manatee counties
- Primary Care Access Network– Serving Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Lake counties
- Epilepsy Florida– Serving Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Palm Beach counties
- Family Healthcare Foundation – Serving Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Polk counties
- University of South Florida Navigators– Serving Madison, Taylor, Jefferson, Gadsden, Wakulla, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Jackson, Washington, Calhoun, Gulf, Bay, Alachua, Bradford, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Lafayette, Levy, Marion, Putnam, Sumter, Suwannee and Union counties
Covering Florida is frequently called upon as an expert in health insurance coverage and health literacy for its ability to reach out to diverse audiences and educate consumers about health insurance coverage and utilization including options under the Affordable Care Act, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Medicaid. Covering Florida reaches consumers through partner organizations and collaborates with hundreds of organizations, many of which provide direct service to thousands of health care consumers. The organization focuses largely on advocating for and increasing access to care and services via enrollment for individuals with limited English proficiency, individuals with disabilities, populations underserved in the current private health insurance market, and vulnerable populations by employing multi-lingual Navigators, producing brochures in multiple languages, conducting workshops, and providing interviews in various languages.
For free in-person, telephone or virtual Navigator assistance state-wide visit
http://www.coveringflorida.org/ or call (877) 813-9115
The project described was supported by Funding Opportunity Number CMSNAVCA180333-01-00
from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The contents provided are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of HHS or any of its agencies.