Screenshot of the health insurance market place website, where uninsured individuals can shop for healthcare as of October, 2013.
Tampa, Florida - Carrie Carnes works fulltime at the Old Tampa Bay Book Company, but despite the steady job, health insurance has been a work of fiction.
"Cost of rent and other bills and to have insurance on top- that isn't affordable at the end of the month," Carnes explains.
But come October, Carnes may have some more options. That's when the uninsured can begin shopping for plans through an online marketplace. Depending on income, the federal government could also help out with the cost.
"When I go to pick insurance, I'm sure it will take days of research to pick the right one," said Carnes.
But people looking for insurance can get some help. Jodi Ray of USF Health is working to establish a network of people called Navigators to help guide people through the process.
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"Our job is to make sure they're comfortable to be able to sit down and apply, and they can get their questions answered," said Ray.
"USF received a major grant from the federal government to get the Navigator program running throughout much of the state and while that's still a work in progress, there are things consumers can do right now.
Ray urges people to register on the website Healthcare.gov. That will start the application process and give you access to information.
As for Carnes, she's hoping the last chapter in her insurance saga has a happy ending.
"Absolutely," she says. "To have access to healthcare like a normal human being in America would be great."
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