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FL Enroller Drops Out; Hospitals, Drugstores Step Up

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

One company that was going to help enroll uninsured Floridians in health insurance through the federal online Marketplace has dropped out in the face of state officials’ continuing hostility to everything about the Affordable Care Act. As the Washington Post reports, Cardon Outreach returned its $800,000 federal grant for enrolling “Navigators.” Cardon has many years’ experience in Medicaid enrollment and was going to turn that expertise to the uninsured in Florida and three other states.

But volunteers who want to see uninsured Floridians get health coverage -- and companies that stand to make money from it -- are stepping in to fill the gaps:

  • Pharmacists at 715 CVS stores across Florida will help the uninsured understand how to sign up for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the Orlando Sentinel reports. U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in Orlando last week to announce that CVS is joining Walgreens, Winn-Dixie Pharmacy and Rite Aid in the education effort.
  • Hospitals are making sure they have personnel trained to help the uninsured get enrolled, Kaiser Health Newsreports. And since they’ll be focused on the sick people, the insurers will want to help publicize the enrollment effort to healthy people.
  • Meanwhile, South Florida agencies that didn’t win grants to hire official navigators to assist people who are enrolling in health insurance plans are relying heavily on volunteers, the South Florida Sun-Sentinelreports. About a third of Florida's 3.8 million uninsured residents live in that part of the state. 
Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.