With Obamacare deadline looming, Tampa to host more enrollment sessions
Tampa already lets Obamacare navigators hold regular office hours at its busiest rec centers. Its firefighters carry information on insurance options when they roll on 911 calls. And Tuesday City Hall announced plans to host seven "super" enrollment sessions ahead of the March 31 deadline to sign up for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
In a statement announcing the events, Mayor Bob Buckhorn said more than 90,000 of the city's 348,000 residents lack health care and "we all benefit when our community is healthier."
"This is an economic and a quality of life issue for our friends, neighbors and family members," he said. "All of us pay when an uninsured person walks into an emergency room with a chronic illness that could have been treated earlier and cheaper."
No appointments are necessary. Officials said each event will have more than 10 health care coverage navigators on hand to help with sign-ups. Residents should bring Social Security numbers, birth dates, pay stubs, W-2 forms, policy numbers for any current insurance and information about any coverage their families could get from an employer.
Here's the schedule:
• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Hunt Center at Al Lopez Park, 4810 N Himes Ave.
• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 8 at the Jackson Heights Center, 3310 E Lake Ave.
• 4 to 8 p.m. March 12 at the Hunt Center at Al Lopez Park, 4810 N Himes Ave.
• 10 a.m.to 4 p.m. March 15 at the Springhill Center, 1000 E Eskimo Ave.
• 3 to 8 p.m. March 16 at the Springhill Center, 1000 E Eskimo Ave.
• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 22 at the Port Tampa Center, 4702 W McCoy St.
• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 29 at the Hunt Center at Al Lopez Park, 4810 N. Himes Ave.
City officials say 96,000 of Tampa residents are uninsured, as are another 200,000-plus residents in Hillsborough County. Last month, President Barack Obama praised Buckhorn for going "all in" to make the city's nine busiest recreation centers available to help with health care enrollment. That came after U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius called Buckhorn's initative "a wonderfully creative approach" and said she had seen mayor-led initiatives in other states, though nothing else in Florida.
Aside from the super enrollments, navigators also will available through the enrollment deadline from 4 to 7 p.m. at the following centers on the following days:
• Springhill Center, 1000 E Eskimo Ave. on Mondays.
• Loretta Ingraham Center, 1615 N Hubert Ave. on Tuesdays.
• Jackson Heights Center, 3310 E Lake Ave. on Tuesdays.
• Hunt Center at Al Lopez Park, 4810 N Himes Ave. on Wednesdays.
• Gwen Miller Center, 6410 N 32nd St. on Wednesdays.
• Forest Hills Center, 724 W 109th Ave. on Thursdays.
• Cyrus Greene Center, 2101 E Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. on Thursdays.
• Port Tampa Center, 4702 W McCoy St. on Thursdays.
• Copeland Park Center, 11001 N 15th St. on Fridays.
Residents do not need a rec card to talk to a navigator at the recreation centers. For more information on Tampa's effort to help with enrollment, call (813) 422-4917. For information on the Affordable Care Act, visit healthcare.gov.