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Navigating The Affordable Care Act Deadline

Bob Barrett

Kara Bryant has been busy. She is the Stability Coordinator for 90 Works, a non-profit in Pensacola that fights homelessness, poverty and family violence by helping people become self-sufficient.  She is also a certified Health Care Navigator under the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act closes at the end of business on Monday.

Kara says there is still a lot of confusion about the law that critics call "Obamacare", particularly from people who are already receiving Medicare or Medicaid benefits who think they have to register again for their benefits through the marketplaces.

Bryant says that she also spends a lot of time explaining the rules to people who do not qualify for either Medicaid or a subsidy to help pay for a private plan. Florida is one of the states that did not expand Medicaid eligibility and that puts a lot of people at a disadvantage.

But with that said, there have been many examples of people getting good, affordable health insurance.

Kara Bryant and the other navigators at 90 Works are the only licensed health care navigators from Escambia through Bay Counties in Florida.  They are seeing people for open enrollment without an appointment at their office on North Baylen Street in Pensacola Thursday from Noon until 6pm and again on Monday from Noon until 6pm. People who are not signed up for health insurance after that will be subject to a fine of $95 for the first year and increasing amounts  subsequent years. And once the deadline passes, Kara will still be there to help people who lose their health insurance due to a career change or other circumstances.

To contact the health insurance navigators call 90 Works at (850) 941-7156. their office is located at 422 N. Baylen St. in Pensacola.

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.