Healthcare navigators provide open enrollment assistance to North Central Florida residents

Residents of North Central Florida are again able to get health insurance from the federal Health Insurance Marketplace and can start signing up now for insurance plans that can begin as soon as Jan. 1.

Open enrollment began nationwide on Nov. 1 and continues until Saturday, Jan. 15. For those needing coverage beginning Jan. 1, consumers must enroll by Wednesday, Dec. 15. 

Healthcare Navigators are a group of nationally recognized health professionals that assist consumers in gaining healthcare coverage. These services are offered at no cost to consumers.

Locally, Suwannee River Area Health Education Centers (SRAHEC) is part of the Covering Florida program, where navigators deliver free outreach and enrollment services to any Floridian that needs to enroll in health care coverage in the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace. Assistance is provided to consumers through telephone, in-person, or virtual consultations. 

SRAHEC also provides education, outreach, and enrollment services throughout Central and Northern Florida. Their navigators are trained and certified to help consumers as they shop for their health coverage options through the Marketplace, including completing eligibility and enrollment forms. SRAHEC navigator services are free to consumers and provided to their entire 15-county service area (Alachua, Bradford, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Lafayette, Levy, Marion, Putnam, Sumter, Suwannee, and Union counties).

SRAHEC has several Spanish-speaking navigators available to assist consumers in their first language. Services in other languages are also available through translators working directly with the Marketplace. 

“We began working with the navigator program in 2013,” said Sarah Catalanotto, executive director of SRAHEC. “We are excited to have the team and resources to help people in our community get the health insurance they need.”

Because of the interest in making affordable health insurance available, the federal government has allotted more funding for navigator programming. SRAHEC has 11 navigators working to assist people in finding insurance that works for them. 

The pandemic has resulted in a tremendously increased level of need for services, and anyone impacted can find out what their coverage options are now. Contact SRAHEC today to allow their team of experts to help you with the specifics of your situation.

For those who wish to talk with a navigator face-to-face, in person appointments can be made with a navigator for one-on-one meetings at local libraries in the counties SRAHEC serves. Additionally, in December, a SRAHEC navigator will be available on the first three Wednesdays from 1pm to 5pm at the Civic Media Center at 433 S. Main Street in downtown Gainesville for in-person consultations.

To contact SRAHEC, call (386) 230-9400 or email for more information.

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