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Health Advocates To Release Report Outlining The Impact Of Florida’s Failure To Expand Coverage For Young Floridians


November 18, 2014

Sarah Lovenheim,;
Colin Seeberger,
Athena Ford Smith,

(ORLANDO) — Four major health advocacy groups — Young Invincibles, Florida CHAIN, Hispanic Health Initiatives, Inc. and Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando — will convene a press conference today at noon to urge newly elected state officials to commit to closing Florida’s coverage gap. On the heels of Open Enrollment, nearly one million Floridians could remain uninsured because
Florida’s lawmakers have failed to close the health coverage gap.

At the press conference, Young Invincibles and Florida CHAIN will release a new report, highlighting the consequences of Florida’s inaction on young people’s health, and the state’s economy.

Cristina Rivera of Young Invincibles said of the report, “This brief looks at Florida’s choice to ignore the state’s health care coverage gap, and how that will impact young Floridians. More than one-third of the nearly one million Floridians in the gap are between the ages of 18 and 34. Uninsured young adults are more likely to delay or ignore needed medical care and struggle with medical bills or debt than their insured peers, which can harm their health, education, and job prospects.”

In addition to presenting their report findings at the press conference, Young Invinicbles and Florida CHAIN will unveil a new exhibit called Lives on the Line — a collection of more than 60 photographs showing the faces of people stuck in Florida’s coverage gap, as a way to demonstrate the diversity of people affected by Florida’s choice.

“These photos are a powerful reminder that the nearly 1 million Floridians stuck in the gap are real people,” said Athena Ford Smith of Florida CHAIN of the new photography exhibit. “They are working moms and dads, students, veterans, unemployed workers and others. Each one of them deserves the security of knowing they can see a doctor when they need to without the fear of enormous medical bills.”

Planned Parenthood, which provides over 21,000 healthcare visits per years at Planned Parenthood Health Centers in Orange County, is deeply concerned that the majority of people it connects with during these visits lack health coverage. “We provide over 21, 000 healthcare visits per year at our Planned Parenthood Health Centers in Orange County and in a recent survey, we found that 60% of those patients fall in the Florida health coverage gap,” said Anna Eskamani, Director of External Affairs of Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando.

Here are more details regarding tomorrow’s press conference:

WHAT: Press conference, featuring Lives on the Line and a new policy report, The Health Coverage Gap and Young Floridians, providing Millennial-specific Census data.

WHEN: TODAY at noon

WHERE: Park Lake Presbyterian Church, 309 East Colonial Drive, Orlando

WHO: Orlando residents stuck in the Florida coverage gap are expected to share their story, Anna Eskamani, Director of External Affairs, Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando; Cristina Rivera, Young Invincibles; Josephine Mercado, Executive Director, Hispanic Health Initiatives; Athena Smith Ford, Advocacy Director, Florida CHAIN

The press conference is sponsored by Health Care for Florida Now, a coalition of nearly 100 organizations across the state dedicated to ensuring Florida takes advantage of this unprecedented opportunity.