CREATED Nov. 7, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. - It's been a little over a month since the launch of Obamacare, but the number of people in Southwest Florida who've enrolled for the affordable health insurance remains a mystery.
The region's head navigator, Lynne Thorp, tells Fox 4 on average, each of Southwest Florida's nine navigators has between four to six appointments each day with people to help enroll them in a health insurance plan. But the number of those who actually get insurance isn't being released.
Thorp said she isn't allowed to release how many people she's enrolled, because that data is expected to be released nationally later this month. Thorp said she's had one person who she met with who actually left the appointment with an insurance plan, but most don't leave with a plan. With over 60 healthcare plans to choose from, she said most people need time to decide on which plan is right for them. Some will even come back for a second appointment to enroll.
Thorp described the launch of Obamacare as "rocky" because of the website issues. She said the website has been a big issue for navigators, and approximated that it works -- right now -- between 50 to 70 percent of the time.
When the website isn't working, Thorp said navigators rely on paper applications and the toll-free phone number, 1-866-547-2793.
While the number of people who have enrolled isn't being released, the University of South Florida-- which received a $4.2 million grant to implement the navigator program in Southwest Florida-- released the salaries for navigators. Each navigator earns somewhere between $10 to $24 per hour, and are paid through a federal grant using your tax dollars.