U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Peter Haden / WJCT

With three weeks left in the health insurance marketplace open enrollment period, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell was in Jacksonville Friday encouraging people to sign up for the Affordable Care Act at Regency Square Mall.

Burwell says, “So we want to meet the consumer where they are and we’re trying to get that messaging out in a number of ways. First of all I’m here to today as part of that effort, meeting with stakeholders, the events that we talked about today, the open-enrollment events.”

dierk schaefer / Flickr

There is growing local concern for a public health issue that some may not realize affects not only those suffering directly, but the entire country.

Starting October first, Floridians will be able to buy health insurance through a government-run website—or “health insurance exchange”—where consumers can compare plans and prices. Under the Affordable Care Act, most uninsured adults who don’t purchase insurance or aren’t covered by employers will have to pay a fine come tax time.

There are still a lot of details about the insurance exchange in Florida that haven’t been settled: like what plans will be available and how much they’ll cost. But HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told an audience at Miami Dade College, the biggest obstacle is information.

"I think the single largest challenge is to get information to individuals who may be eligible for benefits but don’t know anything about the law", said Sebelius.

University of South Florida will receive the lion's share of "Navigator Grants" being issued for Florida, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is to make the announcement at USF at noon. (An updated article will be posted following the press conference.)

The list of grants released for Florida totals around $7.8 million -- more than the $5.8 million that had been expected.