By Andrea Alvarez

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Open enrollment began Wednesday for those looking to switch up or enroll in healthcare plans for 2022. USF kicked off their ‘Get Covered’ health insurance event and CW44 gathered more on how you can learn about the healthcare coverage that fits you best.

“We bring in a lot of navigators which are marketplace assistors. They help people navigate that process to get coverage,” said Jodi Ray, Director of Florida Covering Kids and Families at USF. The on-site, free enrollment event invited passersby to join navigators from Florida Covering Kids & Families at USF joined by the Family Healthcare Foundation to assist people with enrollment and renewals which began November 1st. A big point, though, is helping consumers understand the application process and offering clarity to those attending.

“It is important for people who are already enrolled in a plan should know that they’ll be auto-enrolled in the plan they have, or potentially one that’s similar if that plan doesn’t exist,” said Ray. “We have a lot more plans. We have a lot more insurers this year than ever in the state and it can be overwhelming for consumers. I mean, that’s a lot. You know, in some counties we can have over 200 plans.”

The last date to enroll for coverage beginning January 1st – and where enrollees can change policies before being “auto-re-enrolled” in their previous coverage plan – is December 15th 2021.

“You know, when you start getting into things like tax credits and the cost sharing reductions, trying to do that apples to apples comparison is what a navigator can help you sort through,” said Ray. “We don’t have a stake in the game. We’re not attached to any particular health plan. Our only job is to make sure that consumers feel confident in their ability to make an informed decision.”

Additional events are scheduled on campus through the end of open enrollment in mid-January. For more information or to schedule an appointment, click here.