Residents in The Sunshine State are part of the fourth largest economy in the United States. Politically Florida leans to the right and has traditionally supported Republican candidates for public office, particularly the presidency, with the exception of Obama in 2008 and 2012. Florida currently has a Republican governor, Rick Scott who often has been critical of the Affordable Care Act, or what is also referred to as, “Obamacare”. This despite the overwhelming popularity of Obamacare with the residents of Florida, which is largely evidenced by the fact that Florida has been leading the entire nation in ACA enrollments.
As a state, Florida is the third most populous and comes in at number eight for the most densely populated of the U.S. states. Florida was one of the states to challenge the Affordable Care Act during its initial Supreme Court debacle, and the state did not expand Medicaid under Obamacare (ACA) guidelines. It should be noted however that by many estimates if Medicaid expansion were made available to the state of Florida again, even with the current Governor Rick Scott publicly stating in the past that he is not in favor of it, most likely Medicaid expansion would be welcomed. How Obamacare and Medicaid expansion was originally described and promoted to residents of Florida prior to the launch of Obamacare in 2013, is very different today. It seems that the essential benefits that Obamacare and Medicaid expansion have provided to residents of Florida, has become quite clear to all of the laws political detractors. If fact neither Governorenor Rick Scott nor Republican Senator Marco Rubio, the latter of which actually campaigned on the promise to repeal Obamacare and Medicaid expansion, has any intention of doing so.
Obamacare Enrollment Rates In Florida
Florida uses the federal marketplace for enrollment in Obamacare plans, this is unlike other states, for example, Colorado and California, which each operate their own state-exchange website. Since 2015, the state has seen an increase in the number of people signing up for coverage through the marketplace. It should be noted that individuals who wish to enroll in an Obamacare plan, but would prefer to not have to do so directly through Healthcare.gov, can do so with a licensed health insurance professional. Upwards of 35% of all enrollments actually happen outside of the government or state run exchanges.
One of the main reasons such a large percentage of consumers choose to enroll outside of government run exchanges is simply because of the complexity of the plans being offered. Understanding precisely what someone is signing up for without the help of a licensed health insurance professional, can be extremely challenging. Changing plans after the fact, or after open-enrollment has ended is not really an option for consumers either. If an individual or family ends up enrolling in a plan that months later they find is not a good fit for their specific needs, they often are forced to wait the remainder of the year to change their plan. So that is why it is critical that individuals know for certain what it is they are signing up for.
We should note that there is no real price difference when signing up for a plan with a government exchange, or with a licensed health insurance professional. In fact, one major benefit is that other inexpensive ancillary insurance products, like dental and vision insurance, can not be added on through government run exchanges. Dental and vision plans can often be added to ACA coverage for as little as $15 a month.
Since 2015, the state has seen an increase in the number of people signing up for coverage through the marketplace.
- 1,596,296 Floridians enrolled in 2015
- 1,742,819 Floridians enrolled in 2016
- 1,760,025 Floridians enrolled in 2017
In 2017, there were 594,871 new enrollees in an Obamacare marketplace plan. The remaining 1,165,154 people who signed up re-enrolled from the previous year. While at first glance it might not seem that the political uncertainty surrounding and following the presidential election did not have a negative impact on enrollment rates in Florida, based on the year over year increases, Florida actually underperformed expectations in 2017 by increasing total enrollments from 2016 by approximately 1%.
Within Florida, exchange customers, or consumers enrolling in an “on-exchange” Obamacare plan, tend to be younger. Unlike many other states, the 18-34 demographic had the highest enrollment tally in 2017 in Florida.
When the ACA originally launched Florida did not participate in Medicaid expansion. Despite this, Florida has seen a steady increase in enrollment in the state’s Medicaid program since the ACA took effect. This is mainly because of the overall increased awareness of the Medicaid program thanks to the Affordable Care Act being such a hot button issue amongst Americans seeking affordable healthcare options.
Cost Assistance For Obamacare Plans In Florida
Cost assistance is available to eligible enrollees who choose a plan on the marketplace, typically those earning between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty limit. In 2017, 90 percent of people who enrolled in an Obamacare plan in Florida received cost assistance in the form of federal subsidies, reducing the monthly cost of premiums.
For certain enrollees – those earning up to 250 percent of the federal poverty limit – cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) are also available if they choose a silver-level health plan. In 2017, 72 percent of Florida exchange customers received CSRs.
Health Insurance Carrier Participation & Plan Availability In Florida
Heading into this next open-enrollment period, or season, Floridians should have at least three carrier options in 2018. In 2017, there were seven carriers with 2,417 plans offered by these carriers across the state. This does not mean that every county in Florida has the same options for health insurance. Plan availability varies by county even in states that have at least three carriers. Additionally, until approximately the middle of September, plan availability could change, so we encourage you to register with us in order to receive updates on all available Florida Obamacare Plans.
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