Florida receives $14 million federal grant for health insurance navigators
Florida received $14 million last week in federal grant funding to assist health insurance navigator programs in the state. As open enrollment for the 2023 plan year is set to begin November 1st, navigators are preparing to deliver information and services to those who need to apply for or change their coverage.
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The funding comes from the 2022 CMS Navigator Cooperative Agreement awards. On August 26th, 2022, CMS awarded a total of $98.9 million in funding to 59 organizations that serve as navigators in the 30 states with a federally-facilitated marketplace.
Florida’s award is split across two organizations: Florida Covering Kids and Families at the University of South Florida (FL-CKF), with a statewide network of 200 navigators, received $12,908,382. Urban League of Broward County, Inc., which services Broward, Leon, Palm Beach, and Pinellas counties, received $2,624,933.
FL-CKF subcontracts with several organizations across the state to provide navigator services, including the Florida Primary Care Access Network, the Family Healthcare Foundation and health planning councils. FL-CKF also partners with a range of community-based organizations, including health centers, faith-based organizations, Goodwill, and United Way.
Urban League of Broward County subcontracts with Tallahassee Urban League, Pinellas County Urban League, and Urban League of Palm Beach County. It also has community relationships with YMCA, Broward Health Memorial Healthcare System, Hispanic Unity of Florida, and more.
“Our goal is to get [insurance] information in front of consumers in many different ways using messages that resonate,” said FL-CKF Principal Investigator and Project Director Jodi Ray. “The most important thing is knowing that there are options out there and where to get help. That’s what really makes access for the consumer. They don’t need to know everything, as the navigators can help them with that. What they need to know is, ‘Where do I get answers, and how do I help in the way that I need it?’”
Ray says navigators have plenty of work ahead as the state prepares for the end of the federal public health emergency (PHE), which suspended Medicaid disenrollments, regardless of eligibility status. Navigators are conducting outreach to communities to assure their information is updated as their eligibility is redetermined.
“Eligible people who could add coverage, either Medicaid, CHIP, or the marketplace are going to fall right through the gap and not be able to get coverage for various administrative and process reasons,” Ray said. “Our team is gearing up for this. We want to make sure everybody’s up to speed on understanding the Medicaid eligibility process, and how we navigate all of the coverage system as we work together and make sure that people are moving through that system.”