Florida Obamacare Enrollment – Updated For 2018
Florida just recently released their approved rate increases for on-exchange and off-exchange plans available through the health insurance marketplace, as well as through CMS approved brokers. These rate increases were filed by insurance carriers and these price adjustments go into effect this next open-enrollment period (OEP) which starts on November 1st, 2017 and ends on December 15th, 2017.
There is an Obamacare extension period available for residents of Florida who were impacted by Hurricane Irma. This extends the deadline for enrollment until December 30th, 2017 but only for residents of Florida impacted by the hurricane. That said, we never advise consumers to wait until the end of OEP to enroll in a plan. Without question, the most challenging time of any OEP to enroll in a plan, is within the last week.
Florida’s State Insurance Commissioner recently approved an average rate increase for the state of Florida that has caught many by surprise because of just how high it seems to be at first glance. That said, it is important to note that not all insurance carriers raised rates so dramatically, and there are a number of plans and options available that will not be increasing in price drastically.
Another important detail to note is that this OEP is unique in that insurance carriers filed two rate increases this year, which is not typical. One rate is reflective of normalized increased pricing by a carrier based on its estimated operational cost projections. This is the amount of premiums collected, against the premiums it expects to pay out over the year. The second rate that carriers filed this year, which is unusual, represents a figure that includes additional costs it could incur should the federal government stop funding an essential part of the Affordable Care Act, which are called CSR’s. It has not yet been determined if the Trump Administration will continue to fund the CSR program or not. This has resulted in insurance carriers filing two different rates for 2018.
Below are the two different rate increases that were approved by the state of Florida for the 2018 year. Again, keep in mind that not all carriers have increased rates by this amount, in fact, some carriers have increased rates on a plan by plan basis by low single-digit increases.
Average 2018 Florida Obamacare Rate Increase – With CSR Payments 13.7%
Average 2018 Florida Obamacare Rate Increase – Without CSR Payments 44.7%
We have more information available about the CSR program, and the projected rate increases for the entire United States available on our 2018 Obamacare Rates page.
Those figures might seem alarming, but again, we encourage you to keep in mind that those figures represent an aggregate amount for all insurance carriers combined. There are two different insurance carriers who filed rate increases of 70% or more, and their rate increases are really driving up that aggregate number dramatically. For the majority of consumers within the state, their average premiums will not be increasing that significantly, especially if the CSR payments continue to be made, and pricing doesn’t end up falling into that second tier, and two, if they are receiving a significant subsidy and enrolling in a Silver plan.
Below is some general information regarding the State of Florida and its healthcare options under the ACA.
Florida does not run its own state-based health insurance exchange. Instead, residents here use the federally facilitated site at HealthCare.gov. They can also use an independent agent, broker site or company to enroll directly while still taking advantage of cost-saving measures under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Requirement by Law
Despite the political upheaval this year over healthcare reform, it’s important to note that Obamacare’s individual mandate is still in effect. The IRS has stated that it will be enforcing the mandate as well. Under the Affordable Care Act, all eligible Americans – which represents much of the country – must hold qualifying health insurance or face a penalty fee. For this year, the fee is the greater of 2.5 percent of your household’s taxable income or a flat fee of $695 per adult ($347.50 per child under 18). The fee increases with inflation each year.
Enrollment in Florida
During the 2017 open enrollment period, 1,760,025 people signed up for health insurance using the exchange, compared to 1,742,819 last year. The shift downward in enrollment can be contributed to several factors, including uncertainty over the current administration’s stance on healthcare reform and rising premium costs. Despite fewer signups in 2017, Florida maintains the highest enrollment tally for exchange customers in the country.
While Floridians can go straight to the HealthCare.gov website for coverage, it may be beneficial to shop around using a comparison site like this one. Getting current quotes from multiple carriers can help you find a plan that adequately addresses your needs and fits your budget. Brokers can also help explain your options more clearly.
In 2018, Florida customers will be able to choose from six carriers on the exchange:
- Ambetter (Celtic)
- Florida Blue (BCBS)
- Florida Blue HMO
- Florida Health Care Plan Inc.
- Health First Health Plans
Florida Blue is the only insurer offering coverage for all counties in the state. Rate increases vary widely by the insurer, ranging anywhere from 1.7 percent to 37.5 percent, and will largely depend on whether cost-sharing reduction payments get continued for next year.
For lower- and middle-income families and individuals – those earning between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level – there are provisions in place for financial assistance, including tax credits and subsidies. Approximately 90 percent of customers in the Sunshine State qualified for premium subsidies in 2017. For more information about federal financial assistance, start the enrollment process today. Open enrollment for 2018 runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017 this year.
If you would like to shop plan pricing without having to register with the federal exchange website, you can do so by using the form below. It will allow you to review price estimates. Please note that in order to determine how much of a subsidy you or your family is eligible for, it is required that the information you provide in this form be accurate. If you have questions and would prefer to speak with someone over the phone, our phone number is located in the middle of our homepage.
Obamacare in Florida
Obamacare is the more familiar name given to President Obama’s healthcare reform legislation. It is more formerly known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 2010, which has been shortened to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The healthcare exchanges
Among the many provisions, the ACA provides are the state-based health insurance exchange marketplaces. These are designed to make it easier for those shopping for insurance to participate in the federally regulated and subsidized plans. The exchange exists to help offset healthcare costs. The federal government assumed full responsibility for the Obamacare in Florida exchange in 2014.
Patient protection provisions
Under the ACA, some of the most significant changes to healthcare are:
- Protections against unjustified rate hikes
- The insured’s right to appeal decisions made by their insurance company
- Allowing young adults to remain on their parent’s insurance policies until they reach the age of 26
- Eliminating coverage exclusions due to pre-existing conditions
- Preventing insurance companies from canceling coverage due to illness or as a result of honest mistakes that may have been made on the insurance application
The law of large numbers
The principle of insurance has always been one of pooling resources for the betterment of all concerned. The basic concept is to have more in the pool contributing than are using the resources in order to have sufficient funds for all. This is known as the law of large numbers. The ACA also has provisions to ensure that everyone participates in the pool in order to be fair.
Who qualifies for the exchange?
Provisioned in the ACA was the requirement that all nonexempt Americans had to purchase health insurance by 2014. If not, they faced the penalty of a tax imposed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Those people who already had insurance were not compelled to change their existing plans. The federal marketplace offers tax credits to lower- and middle-income families and individuals who are earning between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level.
Florida is among those states that have chosen not to expand their Medicare coverage. Ultimately, the purpose of the ACA is to help provide affordable health insurance to all Americans.