With the status of the Affordable Care Act changing daily, BayCare Health System in west central Florida wants to help consumers understand their options. BayCare’s Health Care Navigators are available to assist. “Affordable health insurance is essential to improving the health of any community,” said Keri Eisenbeis, director of Government Relations and Community Outreach for BayCare. “A lot of people are receiving care who didn’t have access to it before the Affordable Care Act. More than 1.7 million Floridians currently receive coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Some people may be uncertain about whether the Marketplace still exists after various efforts by Congress this year to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. We can assure our communities that the Marketplace is still here and will be open for business on Nov. 1.”
Open Enrollment for 2018 health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace begins Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 15. “It is important for the public to know that the enrollment period was reduced from three months to just 45 days this year,” Eisenbeis said.
Coverage begins Jan. 1, 2018, if people are enrolled and premiums are paid by Dec. 15. BayCare Health Care Navigators are available to offer free, one-on-one assistance to help anyone understand their options and enroll in a plan. They are trained to provide unbiased information to consumers about health insurance, the Health Insurance Marketplace, qualified health plans and public programs, including Medicaid and Florida KidCare. Services are available year round to anyone seeking affordable health care in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Polk counties.
In addition, BayCare Health Care Navigators will be on site for an Enrollment Event (NAV Labs) where the public can either make an appointment or just walk in:
• Nov. 18, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. – South Florida Baptist Hospital, 301 N. Alexander St., Plant City, FL 33563.
• Nov. 19, noon – 5 p.m. – Morton Plant North Bay Hospital, 6600 Madison St., New Port Richey, FL 34652.
“Despite reports that some areas of the country may not have any health plans available, all the counties we represent within the Marketplace have health plan options ready for purchase for 2018,” Eisenbeis added.
Financial help is available for most Marketplace consumers. Surveys show that many of the remaining uninsured believe that they cannot afford coverage but have not explored their options. Nearly 90 percent of Marketplace enrollees in Florida receive financial help paying for premiums and more than 70 percent receive help with lowering deductibles and co-pays. The government estimates that many of the 28 million Americans that remain uninsured could be eligible for this help.
For more information about Open Enrollment, visit www.coveringtampabay.org. To reach a BayCare Health Care Navigator, please call (855) 404-3334.
BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 14 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and west central Florida regions. Inpatient and outpatient services include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness. Our mission is to improve the health of all we serve through community-owned health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. For more information, visit www.BayCare.org.