LISTEN LIVE

Health Insurance ‘Navigators’ Funding Takes Hit

Sep 13, 2018
Originally published on September 13, 2018 8:58 am

Florida Covering Kids & Families, an organization at the University of South Florida, has been awarded $1.25 million from the federal government to fund “navigators” who help people find and enroll in health-insurance plans. 

That’s a 75 percent reduction from last year, when the group received about $5 million, said Florida Covering Kids & Families Director Jodi Ray.

“The good news is we got funded so we can do outreach,” Ray said. “The sad news is, we need more.”

Ray said the reduction will force her organization to change how it operates.

She said there will be less in-person assistance and more help by telephone and online.

“But that’s not going to work for everyone,” she said, referring, for example, to people with language barriers. “In-person (counseling) is by far the most successful.”

The federal Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, made sweeping changes to how health insurance is sold and required people to purchase policies.

The law also created and funded navigators.

President Donald Trump adamantly opposes the law and has reduced funding for navigators since taking office.

His administration slashed funding for navigators from $63 million in 2016 to $36.1 in 2017. The funding was reduced to $10 million in 2018.

Open enrollment in Obamacare for calendar year 2019 begins Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 15.