MIAMI, FL – Open enrollment for Obamacare is in full swing in Florida, even as the U.S. Supreme Court listened to oral arguments this week on whether the law is constitutional. There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act, even though pandemic-related job losses are driving more people to sign up for its coverage.
Islara Souto is the Navigator program director for Epilepsy Florida in South 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,” said Souto. “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.”
Republican attorneys general in 18 states and the Trump administration argue the entire law should be struck down. But the Supreme Court’s decision isn’t expected until late Spring. Meanwhile, open enrollment runs through December 15, and people can find help to sign up at ‘coveringflorida.org.’
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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’re 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,” said Souto. “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 with grants to provide Navigator services across the state include the University of South Florida, Primary Care Access Network, Health Planning Council of Northeast & Southwest Florida, and Family Healthcare Foundation.
According to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, enrollment dropped by about 300,000 people from 2018 to 2019. They estimate 11.4 million have coverage this year.