Enrollment impacted by shortened open enrollment period and
minimal publicity – health care advocates remind Floridians to shop
and sign up for coverage by Saturday, December 15th deadline
As the December 15th deadline for Affordable Care Act open enrollment nears, the latest numbers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) show that Florida and the nation are being impacted by Trump Administration cuts to Affordable Care Act (ACA) Navigators and publicity outreach.
During open enrollment in November, 799,188 Floridians signed up or re-enrolled in health care coverage. Last year, 802,711 Floridians signed up during the same time period. National enrollment to date on the HealthCare.gov platform is at 3,198,163, compared to 3,604,440 last year. National enrollment indicates about 400,000 fewer health care consumers this year.
Health care consumer and advocacy groups in Florida are pushing hard to bolster Affordable Care Act Marketplace enrollment before the upcoming deadline on Saturday, December 15th.
“Having health insurance means being able to go to the doctor when you are sick or accessing preventive care to address a health issue before it becomes something more serious,” said Scott Darius, executive director of Florida Voices for Health. “Families that sign up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act may qualify for financial assistance and can have peace of mind throughout the year that they are purchasing a quality insurance plan that will be there for them when they need it.”
“All health insurance plans sold in the Marketplace must cover the ten essential health benefits, such as preventive and wellness services, prescription drug coverage, emergency care, and mental health and substance use disorder treatment,” said Mark Ferrulo, executive director of Progress Florida. “It is important that people read the details for any health insurance plan purchased outside the Marketplace, because they do not necessarily have to cover these essential health benefits.”
Floridians interested in enrolling in Marketplace health care coverage should visit www.HealthCare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.
About federal cuts to open enrollment publicity and outreach
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services allocated only $10 million for ACA enrollment publicity and outreach to consumers to inform them about available coverage and financial assistance — a 90 percent cut. The Trump Administration cut Navigator funding, which supports enrollment, each of the last two years. This year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is making only $10 million available for consumer assistance in the 34 states, including Florida, where the marketplace is facilitated by the federal government. The Navigator budget for last year’s open enrollment period was $36 million, while it was $63 million the previous year. In total, Navigator funding has now fallen more than 80 percent from its 2016 level.
How Floridians can sign up for health insurance by December 15th deadline
Florida residents who wish to enroll through the Marketplace can do so in several ways, including online at www.Healthcare.gov or by calling 1-800-318-2596.