Lack Of Navigators In Panhandle A Concern In Run Up To Federal Insurance Exchanges

Sep 5, 2013

There are three weeks remaining until federal insurance exchanges are unveiled and consumers can start shopping. But the people charged with helping make those purchases –so-called navigators - could be hard to find in North Florida.

The federal healthcare overhaul law identifies navigators as the people who can go out into communities to help people shop for insurance on federal exchanges.  But in the middle Panhandle region—which runs from Liberty County on the west to Taylor and Madison counties on the east, there are only two positions. And Karen Woodall, with the left-leaning Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, says that could be a problem:

“They won’t be enough if we don’t have the volunteers and the outreach and enrollment efforts.  Remember, navigators are just part of the function.” 

Woodall’s group and others are working to assemble a list that includes volunteers who can steer people to the navigators and the exchanges. Those volunteers work at places such as local community health centers, where staff are receiving extra training to help fill in the gaps. The insurance exchanges are set to open October first.

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