Fla. groups get nearly $8M to sign up uninsured

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says Florida will receive $7.8 million in federal funds to hire staff to walk people through the new health care system.

Eight organizations will receive the money to hire so-called “navigators,” an army of counselors to explain different insurance plans offered through the exchange.

The additional funds are especially important in Florida where the Republican-controlled legislature has been resistant to the Affordable Care Act and opted to let federal officials run its state exchange. The state isn’t spending any additional money on outreach efforts to get the message out to 3.5 million uninsured Floridians.

The organizations receiving the grants will have a quick-turnaround to start hiring the navigators and training them on the ins and outs of the complex law.

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