Navigators Offer Free Local Help Available To Get Coverage

PictureCertified Navigator Michael Ray assists a consumer.

Covering Florida Navigator Kyle Simon submitted a letter to the editor of the Tampa Bay Times in response to an article outlining challenges facing Floridians as they seek health coverage through Obamacare. Click here to read the original story.

Dear Editor:

Sunday’s report about the challenges consumers face enrolling in or renewing health coverage through Obamacare overlooked a critical type of assistance to help Floridians get covered.

I am one of approximately 150 certified Navigators across our state who are trained and able to help consumers, small businesses, and their employees as they look for health coverage options during the ongoing open enrollment period. Free of charge, Navigators can help people understand the cost of coverage, find out if they qualify for federal subsidies to reduce the cost of coverage, find out which plans and providers are available to them, and submit an application for health coverage. Navigators are certified by the federal government after taking extensive training and licensed through the state of Florida after undergoing background checks. We must provide unbiased information about all the plan choices and we are paid through a federal grant, not the insurance companies.

So far, more than 600,000 Floridians have enrolled in health plans through the Federal Health Insurance Marketplaces. Last year, in Florida, more than nine out of 10 Floridians who enrolled received financial help to make their monthly premiums more affordable. Most people can find a health insurance plan for as little as $50 or less per month, but consumers who choose not to buy health insurance may need to pay a tax penalty of $695 or more.

Through January 31, consumers can take advantage of free local assistance and meet with a Navigator in their community by visiting or calling (877) 813-9115.

– Kyle Simon, Tampa

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