Local Enrollment Event Aims to Assist Consumers


By ​Lauren Vagelakos, Special to The Gainesville Sun

Open enrollment for the health insurance marketplace has been underway since Nov. 1. During Open Enrollment, consumers are able to log on to Healthcare.gov and view plans available to them, as well as enroll or re-enroll in coverage. Open enrollment ends on Jan. 30. However, if consumers want their health coverage to begin as early as the first day of the New Year, they must enroll in a health plan by Dec. 15.

Financial help is available through the marketplace to help eligible consumers pay for premiums, in the form of tax credits and cost-sharing reductions. Eligible consumers can only get this financial help if they enroll through Healthcare.gov. About 8 in 10 of the uninsured who are eligible for marketplace coverage qualify for financial assistance to lower the cost of their monthly premiums.

According to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly 1 million uninsured Floridians are eligible for financial help paying for insurance if they simply applied for it. Roughly 306,000 people qualify for Medicaid but have not applied for it and 825,000 people are eligible for financial assistance for health insurance through the marketplace on Healthcare.gov but have not enrolled.

There is free enrollment assistance available in North Central Florida through the health insurance marketplace Navigators. Navigators are trained and certified to provide free, unbiased assistance to guide you through the enrollment process. If you have questions about the marketplace, want to review your coverage options, change your health insurance plan or apply for coverage for the first time, the health insurance marketplace Navigators are here to help.

There will be a “Get Covered for the New Year” enrollment event taking place in Gainesville at Santa Fe CIED (530 West University Avenue) on Dec. 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Health insurance marketplace Navigators from WellFlorida Council and other local organizations will be providing free enrollment assistance to help individuals and families enroll or re-enroll in health insurance prior to the Dec. 15 deadline.

Several area Navigators will be available at the event to assist, including two Navigators who are fluent in Spanish. Walk-ins and RSVPs are both welcome. If you wish to RSVP, please visit GetCoveredAmerica.org and select Connector and search by zip code 32601 (the zip code for the CIED).

To contact a Navigator in your area or for more information, visit http://ncfnavigators.org or call 352-299-0380.

Lauren Vagelakos, associate planner at WellFlorida Council, is the manager of the health insurance marketplace Navigator program, which provides free enrollment assistance to 15 counties in North Central Florida.

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