In Latest Miami Visit, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Talks With 3 Successful Obamacare Enrollees

The Spanish-language webpage has been slow to start, Sebelius admitted

It has been less than a month since Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in Miami. During her last visit wasn't working.

This time she surrounded herself with three people who have been able to successfully enroll.

"I will be able to save starting in January $600 a month with a much better policy with a $250 deductable," said Nancy Lewe, a small business owner.

In advance of Friday’s orchestrated press event, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio released a videotaped statement.

"Well my hope is that on her visit here, Secretary Sebelius will take time to speak to the people that have come up to me, or the people I’ve heard from, whose deductibles have gone up to five or six thousand dollars," Rubio said.

Actually, Sebelius presented Florida International University student Marcelo Cantos.

"They told me what I was going to pay a month which is 7 dollars and 3 cents, which is amazing. I was paying around $160 a month when I had insurance with my job. And now I know my deductible is going to be very low,” Cantos said.

Many Hispanics have been slow to enroll. The Spanish-language webpage wasn't up and running until last week and has been slow to start, Sebelius admitted.

"In large part that was an intentional decision to make sure that the, until the site produced a different consumer experience, we didn't want to invite people to get frustrated all over again," Sebelius said.

More Floridians are signing up for the federal health insurance program than residents in any other state relying on the federal exchange. According to figures released Wednesday by the Health and Human Services Department, nearly 18,000 have registered over the last two months.
Nearly 14,500 Floridians signed up under the Affordable Care Act in November. That compares to about 11,000 in Texas – another populous state that's using the federal government's website.

On Friday Sebelius was asked about PolitiFact naming as its “Lie of the Year” the president's statement "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” Sebelius refused to say whether she had offered her resignation in light of the botched launch of the insurance marketplace.

"I'm not going to discuss what I talk about to the president," Sebelius said.

There's also the issue of enrollment errors.

"What we are urging consumers to do is if you have enrolled and haven’t heard from your insurance company, call them. Because we want to make sure that you are definitely in the system," Sebelius said.

Florida's November enrollment figures are considerably higher than the dismal 3,500 in October when sign-ups were hampered by technical glitches. That's still far less than what officials had originally projected.

The cutoff date for signing up for coverage that begins Jan. 1 is just 10 days away. Open enrollment ends at the end of March.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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