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Obamacare Open Enrollment: Navigator Help Is Available Now

Photo of compass with ACA-Obamacare logo and copy which says, Navigators Available
Compass: photo by Heidi Fin on Unsplash | Columbia County Observer graphic

TALLAHASSEE, FL – While the U.S. Supreme Court was listening to oral arguments about the constitutionality of the ACA, open enrollment for Obamacare was in full swing in Florida.

Republican attorneys general in 18 states and the Trump administration argued the entire law should be struck down. The Supreme Court's decision isn't expected until late spring.

With uncertainty surrounding the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), pandemic-related job losses are driving more people to sign up for its coverage.

In South Florida, Islara Souto is the Navigator program director of Epilepsy Florida. She said people can count on the trained specialists, known as Navigators, to help them shop for the best possible plans.

"We have to stay unbiased," she said. "We are not driven by commissions; as such other agencies might be driven by commissions. So, we have to show the consumer every single plan that is available to them, regardless of what insurance company."

Covering Florida logo with phone number (877-813-9115) and linked to Covering Florida website.Open enrollment runs through December 15, 2020. Florida-wide sign-up help can be found at Covering Florida, who can provide navigators or refer you to a navigator in your area.

Except for a slight dip in 2018, Obamacare enrollment has seen a steady climb in Florida.

Souto said they're expecting enrollment to increase again due to the pandemic, and they are prepared to serve anyone who might need a little help navigating plan options.

"We have really been a game-changer in the state of Florida in terms of enrolling consumers," she said. "Especially here in the Miami-Dade region, with the highest uninsured rates in the state. We are grateful to be doing this for our eighth year now."

Other partners who provide grant-funded Navigator services are the University of South Florida, Primary Care Access Network, Health Planning Council of Northeast & Southwest Florida, Family Healthcare Foundation, and Suwannee River Area Health Education Centers (AHEC).

According to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, enrollment dropped by about 300,000 people from 2018 to 2019. They estimate 11.4 million have Obamacare this year.

With a 21.24 mil (2018) population, Florida has 1,913,975 participants, while California, with almost double the population at 39.46 mil (2018), has 1,538,819.

Florida’s numbers would be lower if the state participated in the federally funded Expanded Medicaid Coverage program.

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