September 14, 2017
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 $4.9M award from the US Health and Human Service Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for Affordable Care Act enrollment and outreach programs for the current project year beginning September 13, 2017. Ray acknowledged that her program has received a 15% reduction in its expected award, requiring the organization to adjust the statewide program budget for the coming year's activities. Research 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 rely more on in-person assistance.
Open Enrollment begins on November 1st this year and continues until December 15th for those needing coverage beginning January 1st , 2018. The 2018 Open Enrollment window has been shortened 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 USF statewide consortium and are collectively known as "Covering Florida":
- 90 Works – Serving Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Jackson, Washington, Calhoun, Gulf, and Bay counties
- Broward Regional Health Planning Council – Serving Broward County
- The Family Healthcare Foundation – Serving Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Polk counties
- Florida Keys Area Health Education Center, Inc. – Serving Monroe County
- Suwannee River Area Health Education Center – Serving Alachua, Bradford, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Lafayette, Levy, Marion, Putnam, Sumter, Suwannee and Union counties
- Health Council of Southeast Florida – Serving Palm Beach, Martin, Okeechobee, St. Lucie, and Indian River counties
- Health Council of South Florida – Serving Miami-Dade
- 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
- United Way of Brevard – Serving Brevard County
- University of South Florida Mobile Navigators – Serving Madison, Taylor, Jefferson, Gadsden, Wakulla, Liberty, Franklin, and Leon 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 Navigator assistance state-wide call (877) 813-9115 or visit http://www.coveringflorida.org/