WellFlorida News Release
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (August 22, 2013)— WellFlorida has been selected by the University of South Florida (USF) as the consortium partner for 15 North Central Florida counties after USF recently received one of several “Navigator” grants for the state of Florida by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
WellFlorida will work in collaboration with USF as one of 10 statewide partners to hire local Navigators to help uninsured Floridians enroll for health coverage when the Health Insurance Marketplace opens October 1, 2013. Partners will also conduct public education activities for consumers and small employers to raise awareness about the upcoming insurance changes. WellFlorida will receive just under $300,000 to facilitate these activities.
WellFlorida’s charge will be to create and maintain a regional network of eight Navigators to serve Alachua, Bradford, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Lafayette, Levy, Marion, Putnam, Sumter, Suwannee and Union counties. WellFlorida will also ensure the Navigators complete the required 20 hours of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services training and pass all required exams to ensure appropriate understanding of relevant exchange-related information. Navigator candidates will be vetted through extensive background checks through all required Federal and State processes.
Once the Navigators earn their certification, their role will be to identify and assist uninsured families in understanding insurance options through the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace and provide guidance in completing the application. Other responsibilities will include interviewing uninsured families to obtain information needed for the online application, explaining the application process, program requirements and timelines to eligible individuals, completing the online application process, if necessary, and conduct computer-based enrollment at community sites in certain geographic.
WellFlorida will ensure that Navigators are culturally and linguistically appropriate to the needs of the population being served, including individuals with limited English proficiency, and to ensure accessibility and usability of navigator tools and functions for individuals with disabilities, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
“We’re pleased to be partnering with USF on this project,” said Jeff Feller, CEO of WellFlorida Council. “The ultimate goal of the Navigator grant—to improve access to healthcare—is at the core of many of our programs. We look forward to helping residents in our communities have the information to find health insurance that best fits their budgets and needs. ”