And in Florida next week, Dr. Renard Murray, a CMS regional administrator, is scheduled to host demonstrations about the new healthcare.gov website and a 1-800 call center for the health insurance marketplaces at the Children's Board Family Support and Research Center in Tampa and the Central Florida Family Health Center in Sanford on June 26. A separate event is scheduled at the Jessie Trice Community Health Center in Miami the following day.
“We've invited all of our community partners—hospitals, families, small businesses—anyone who would really benefit from knowing about the marketplace and how they might help their family with or how they might help their clients,” Susan Nichols, director of development and government affairs at the Central Florida Family Health Center in Sanford, told Modern Healthcare.
Nichols said her group—which operates five federally qualified community health centers and one school-based center—has extended an invitation to about 200 people to hear from the CMS' Murray, who is expected to conduct a PowerPoint presentation on the awareness and outreach tools. She expects between 30 and 50 people to attend the event, which she said her organization agreed to sponsor at the request of Hispanic Health Initiatives, which informs and connects medically underserved families with health education and services where they live.
Meanwhile, these events are happening as three regulations related to the health insurance exchanges—including one about standards for navigators who will help people learn about the law's benefits—are currently under review at the Office of Management and Budget, signaling that the CMS might release those rules in the near future.
“I think they looked at launching this campaign and realized if you're out there to create awareness and there is no product when you run your ad, it may not be that effective of an ad,” said John Barkett, director of health policy affairs at Extend Health, a segment of global professional services company Towers Watson. “I think they've waited this long so not to have these ads come out and lead to confusion about what's supposed to happen.”