Health Care

Obamacare enrollment surges with Florida leading way, feds say

Nearly 1.3 million people in Florida have signed up for a health plan through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchange at healthcare.gov as of Dec. 19, according to the Obama administration. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale led all local markets with more than 490,000 sign-ups as of Dec. 19 — the deadline to enroll for coverage that begins on New Year’s Day.
Nearly 1.3 million people in Florida have signed up for a health plan through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchange at healthcare.gov as of Dec. 19, according to the Obama administration. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale led all local markets with more than 490,000 sign-ups as of Dec. 19 — the deadline to enroll for coverage that begins on New Year’s Day.

Nearly 6.4 million Americans have signed up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges at healthcare.gov, the Obama administration reported Wednesday, a surge in enrollment that included about 1.3 million people in Florida — more than any state using the federally run marketplace.

Enrollment reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services captured sign-ups as of Monday, the deadline to choose coverage that begins on New Year’s Day, and reflected an increase of about 400,000 consumers over the same period for the prior year.

The increase comes amid uncertainty about whether the health insurance program will be partly or fully repealed after Donald Trump becomes president next month.

Sharon Pace of Kansas City, Kan., relies on Obamacare to help her cover her health needs and would receive a dramatic reduction in costs through it next year. Pace fears the financial and health fallout if the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamaca

Among those signing up for coverage were more than 2 million new consumers and an additional 4.3 million renewing their ACA plans, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a teleconference with reporters.

“Today’s enrollment numbers,” she said, “confirm that doomsday predictions about the marketplace were wrong.”

The numbers reported Wednesday for healthcare.gov did not include enrollment for the 11 states and Washington, D.C., that operate their own insurance exchanges. Nor did the report include automatic re-enrollment of coverage.

Consumers with ACA coverage for 2016 who didn’t renew or change their health plan by the Dec. 19 deadline were automatically enrolled for 2017 in the same plan or a similar one if their old plan was no longer available on healthcare.gov.

Burwell said data for automatic re-enrollments and the state-based insurance exchanges will be reported in January, and she predicted they would raise total sign-ups for ACA coverage by “millions more.”

“This is a product that people want and people need,” Burwell said.

Florida enrollment as of Dec. 19 increased by about 14 percent over the same period last year, when about 1.13 million people had signed up for an ACA plan through the first seven weeks of open enrollment for 2016 coverage.

Five Florida regions were counted among the top 30 local markets for enrollment, led by the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area with 490,425 sign-ups. The Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne area was second with 244,682 plan selections and the Tampa-Saint Petersburg area with 214,232.

HHS projected in October that 13.8 million people would sign up for an ACA exchange plan during the 2017 open enrollment period — fewer than originally projected in 2010, but about 1 million more than the number of people who signed up for a plan by the end of open enrollment for 2016 coverage.

  Comments