USF gets $5.38 M grant to help enroll more eligible uninsured in Health Insurance Marketplace

The USF Navigator grant, the largest in the country and in Florida, will build upon the program’s successful statewide outreach

The University of South Florida has received a $5.38 million second-year Navigator grant – the largest award in the country and in Florida – to help enroll more eligible consumers and small employers in the Health Insurance Marketplace.

People shopping for and enrolling in health insurance coverage through the Marketplace can get local help several ways, including through in-person assisters called navigators.

Jodi Ray_Nav Lab_RSS

Principal investigator Jodi Ray and her team at Florida Covering Kids and Families, USF College of Public Health, were competitively awarded the country’s largest Year 2 Navigator grant.

For this second year of funding announced Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded a total of $60 million in Navigator grants to 90 organizations in states with federally-facilitated and state partnership Marketplaces.

USF’s $5.38 million grant this year exceeds the $4.2 million USF received last year. It adds three counties – Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe – meaning that all 67 Florida counties will be covered by the Florida Covering Kids & Families program (FL-CKF) at the USF College of Public Health, which oversees and works with a consortium of 12 organizations across the state.

“The second year of this grant will allow us to continue working with our partners and expand our efforts to provide vital one-on-one assistance to thousands of consumers statewide,” said Jodi Ray, principal investigator for the USF Navigator grant and project director for FL-CKF. “We have a lot of work to do this year to make sure Floridians get health care coverage. We have maintained a strong infrastructure across the state that has been proven effective, and we will build upon that to strengthen our outreach.”

According to a recent outside survey, a variety of assisters, including navigators, were responsible for helping an estimated 10.6 million consumers apply for coverage in Marketplace plans, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) during the first open enrollment period. Florida enrolled nearly 1 million uninsured – more than any other state participating in the federal Marketplace.

The consortium partners working with USF this year to assist uninsured with the enrollment process and to conduct public education activities to raise awareness about options for coverage in the Marketplace are:

–      Northwest Florida Comprehensive Services for Children (90Works)

–      The Center for Health Equity, Inc.

–      North Central Florida Health Planning Council, Inc. (WellFloridaCouncil, Inc.)

–      Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida

–      United Way of Brevard

–      Primary Care Access Network

–      The Family Healthcare Foundation

–      Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida, Inc.

–      Treasure Coast Health Council (Health Planning Council of Southeast Florida)

–      Broward Regional Health Planning Council, Inc.

–      Health Council of South Florida

–      Florida CHAIN – statewide

Ray said over the last year FL-CKF successfully designed and implemented a statewide outreach and enrollment initiative. That included directly assisting and educating 72,905 individuals in 64 counties through one-on-one appointments and outreach, she said.

In its second year, FL-CKF expects to provide one-on-one assistance to approximately 47,800, or 2.7 percent of the eligible uninsured and indirectly reach more than 1.5 million individuals through outreach in the 67 counties served by the USF Navigator grant, Ray said.

The next open enrollment period for plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act begins Nov. 15.

In addition to Ray, other members of the USF Navigator team at FL-CKF are Michelle Ray, Xonjenese Jacobs, Wendy Hathaway, Avery Slyker, Linda Detman, Jessica Beruman, and Tommi Rivers.

For a list of HHS navigator awardees, or more information about navigators and other Marketplace resources, visit http://cciio.cms.gov/programs/exchanges/assistance.html