Is Southwest Florida ready for Obamacare?
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Enrollment for Obamacare is slated to begin one week from now, but is Southwest Florida ready? Are all of the resources in place to help you enroll, if you desire?
Matt Addison is one of many Americans who will be enrolling for Obamacare, but doesn't know much about it.
"I didn't know [enrollment] was already a week away," he said. "I don't really know much of anything about it."
Addison likely will turn to an Obamacare "navigator" for help. Navigators are a handful of people from local organizations selected to help people enroll in a health care plan. However, Fox Four learned some of the navigators haven't completed their 20-hour training yet and none of them know what the plans will cost.
"The concern I have is the federal government- as of yesterday- has not released the plans, the payment plans, what the premiums are going to be, what services are going to be provided, etc. so that's obviously an important ingredient navigators will need to have to be informed and learn the plans," said Ed Houck, director of Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida, which is charged with overseeing the navigator program.
Houck said local navigators are in the process of completing their training. At Lee County Human Services- one of the local agencies selected to have a navigator- the final paperwork hasn't been completed yet and the navigator has not started training, according to director Ann Arnall. When asked if Arnall thought the navigator would be ready by October 1, she said she "wasn't sure" and it depends on when the final paperwork gets completed.
At United Way, another location selected to have a navigator, director Cliff Smith said his organization is preparing to get several calls beginning next week about the Affordable Care Act. United Way's navigator will be starting training this week and Smith said he's confident the navigator will be ready to begin helping people by October 1.
Tijuana Clemmons with Redlands Christian Migrant Association said their navigator has started training and will be finished with it by September 30.
Houck said he is confident the local navigators will be prepared by October 1, as long as the federal government provides information about the payment plans.
The following locations in Lee County will have an Obamacare navigator:
- McGregor Clinic
- Lee County Human Services
- United Way
The following locations in Collier County will have an Obamacare navigator:
- Catholic Charities
- Redlands Christian Migrant Association