Q: I don’t have a computer and I care for my elderly mother. How do I learn about the insurance options since I can’t go online? — Michelle from Tampa
A: The Healthcare Marketplace — or exchange — that will operate in Florida depends on individuals to have access to a computer and the Internet. While officials tout the availability of terminals at public libraries and community health centers, it sounds as if that will be difficult for you to manage.
There are a couple of ways you can get the information you need to make a decision about your health insurance for 2014. Currently, you can call the 24-hour Healthcare.gov hotline at (800) 318-2596 or TTY: (855) 889-4325.
Applicants also will be allowed to fill out paper applications and submit them by mail. But it’s still not clear exactly where in the Tampa area you can find them.
After Oct. 1, there will be local “navigators” available to speak with you about the insurance available as part of the Affordable Care Act. Phone numbers for those navigators aren’t available yet, but workers on the phone hotline might be able to connect you closer to Oct. 1, the first day of a six-month enrollment period.
These individuals are not commercial insurance agents; they are trained to understand the options within the online marketplace and your eligibility for those plans and the potential breaks on your monthly premiums.
Also, details about how much this will cost won’t be available until Oct. 1. But it can’t hurt to make a call and find out which documents you might need to collect so you’re ready when enrollment starts.
Stay tuned to TBO.com/health and we will update you as soon as we can.