The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which oversees the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has released the latest 2016 Open Enrollment Period (OEP) numbers. It marks this OEP’s first time that enrollment in all 50 states and the District of Columbia has been factored in, including states relying on the Federally facilitated Marketplace and state-run Marketplaces (exchanges). The bottom line is that enrollment is going very well, with 11.3 million Americans having enrolled by Jan. 2, 2016.
Florida has emerged as the leader among the 38 states utilizing the federal Healthcare.gov platform. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid found that from Nov. 1 (the first day of Open Enrollment) through Dec. 26, 2015, 1,556,551 Floridians selected Obamacare policies. For the first time in a decade, Florida gained more people than California; 365,703, representing more than 1,000 residents a day. This is notable, as Florida’s population was the smallest among Southern states until the middle of the 20th century.
With so many residents, including big populations of seniors and millennials, health insurance is a major necessity. As such, federal, state and local organizations and their representatives are working hard to educate and assist consumers in enrolling during the OEP. This is important, as those who miss the final deadline of Jan. 31, 2016, may face tax penalties for being uninsured. Consumers will have to pay the greater of:
- $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, for a maximum of $2,085 per family; in 2015, this was $325 per adult and $162.50 per child
- 2.5 percent of your income above the tax filing threshold; in 2015, this was 2 percent
But despite the ACA navigators’ efforts, many Americans have not yet enrolled. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), an influential, healthcare nonprofit organization, in 2015, there were an estimated 2,788,000 Floridians who were uninsured. Of these, 41 percent were found to qualify for either Medicaid or tax credits under Obamacare.