Florida's Affordable Care
TAMPA, FL - June 19, 2018
For Immediate Release
As the Florida summer heats up, all of our Navigators at Covering Florida are still working long hours, helping consumers who have experienced a qualifying life event and become eligible for Affordable Care Act Marketplace Insurance coverage during the current Special Enrollment period (click for eligibility opportunities!). They are hosting and staffing events throughout the state virtually every day of the week, doing community outreach, answering questions that both new and existing consumers may have, and helping existing clients and new clients to solve problems and maintain their financial data. Covering Florida Navigators are making sure they can do all that they can to keep Florida families covered for their health care needs.
At the same time, our Covering Florida team is anxiously awaiting news and details from our Washington D.C. partner agencies to determine what is in store for us for the fast approaching 6th year of Open Enrollment, or OE6 as we call it around the offices. We’re also looking back at the success of our Covering Florida Navigators over the past 5 years of Open Enrollment.
Success comes in many forms. Usually it means that a person or team of people exceeded a certain goal. Sometimes just duplicating or coming close to a previous effort can be seen as successful, particularly when there are challenges added to the mix. During the 3-month OE4 period, Florida was a national leader in successfully enrolling 1,760,025 million consumers for ACA Marketplace health insurance coverage. After that successful year, as planning for OE5 was underway, we were informed that the time frame for Open Enrollment was being cut in half. We then learned of deep budget and outreach program cuts that would necessarily result in less personnel going into the new enrollment year. We also learned of insurer rate hikes due to the changing landscape. Facing tremendous challenges like these left many wondering how on earth the Covering Florida team could effectively meet its goals in getting Florida consumers the coverage they would need for 2018.
The Navigator teams at Covering Florida responded to these challenges by turning them into opportunity. We built new alliances with activist groups who wanted to make sure healthcare remained affordable and accessible. Media partners in Florida doubled down to help us get the word out. A big effort was made to expand our social media outreach and push for earned media to help us tell the story that we had to tell. Local Navigator groups around Florida worked harder and for longer hours to get the job done with less team members on board.
Open Enrollment 5 for 2018 coverage began on November 1, 2017 and ended December 15, 2017, although residents in Florida and a few other areas actually had until March 31, 2018 to enroll, due to the hurricane-related special enrollment period. The results of all that hard work, time and effort paid off royally: 1,715,227 people enrolled in plans through the Florida exchange during the OE5 period for 2018 coverage. Although this is slightly lower than the state’s 2017 enrollment, it is still by far the highest in the country.
We are looking forward to continuing that success in securing health care for Florida’s consumers in 2019, in spite of the potential roadblocks. As Covering Florida’s Navigators await their marching orders for OE6, we continue to reach out to more potential community partners, to Florida elected officials from DC and Tallahassee right down to our towns and villages, and to health care organizations, making sure they are aware of the success of our program over the last 5 years. We are always seeking additional resources and support for our outreach efforts, because reaching consumers in the face of often conflicting news about the future of the Affordable Care Act is an uphill battle we face every day. Stay tuned for more developments soon!
About Covering Florida: Florida Covering Kids & Families is the lead entity for a Cooperative Agreement with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide Navigator services throughout Florida. FL-CKF is a community and consumer-focused non-profit initiative of The Lawton and Rhea Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers and Babies, based in the College of Public Health at the University of South Florida. Learn more here.
For free in-person Navigator assistance state-wide call (877) 813-9115 or visithttp://www.coveringflorida.org/
Media inquiries please call Jody Young at 561-704-3912 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The project described was supported by Funding Opportunity Number CMS-CA-NAV-15-001 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.”