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One Voice for Florida. Louder

Get informed, Oct. 1st is rolling in

Despite actions by Florida lawmakers apparently designed to undercut the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Floridians can begin purchasing insurance on the health care exchange October 1.

It is up to consumers, in Florida and across the country, to select the right insurance for themselves and their families by cutting through the political hype and making an informed decision. This week FRHA will focus on resources consumers can use to make the right selection.  

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, spent time in Florida this week to spread the word about open enrollment and criticize the hardship Florida officials have placed on citizens looking to take advantage of the new law, sometimes called Obamacare.

“Florida has done some pretty unbelievable things,” she said.

Among those moves has been the State Department of Health’s decision to ban trained health “navigators” from county health departments; refusing to set up or advertise health care exchanges where the uninsured can purchase insurance beginning Oct. 1; refusing to accept federal money to expand Medicaid in Florida, leaving about 1.1 million Florida residents without any coverage; and suspending the power of the state Insurance Commission to review rates for the next two years.

Florida’s failure to extend Medicaid coverage will have serious consequences for nearly 1 million Flordians falling in the unintended coverage gap by not earning enough to quality for tax credits available through the exchange, but earning too much to qualify for Medicaid. The state’s refusal to expand Medicaid could also be detrimental to hospitals that treat large numbers of uninsured patients.

However nearly 2 million Floridians will be eligible to enroll in the exchange and receive a tax credit.

Resources:

HealthCare.gov- the federally-run health insurance marketplace for residents in states not running their own marketplace. https://www.healthcare.gov/ or call 1-800-318-2596.

Email and/or text updates from HealthCare.gov- https://www.healthcare.gov/subscribe/

FAQ: What You Need to Know About the New Online Marketplace- Nonprofit news organization Kaiser Health News answers common questions about the exchanges. http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2013/September/17/marketplace-FAQ-insurance-exchange-obamacare-aca.aspx

Less Help for Uninsured in Many States as Obama Health Care Markets Open in a Divided Nation- Associated Press article on how your coverage will be effected by where you live. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/less-help-for-uninsured-in-many-states-as-obama-health-care-markets-open-in-a-divided-nation/2013/09/12/e5931f50-1b71-11e3-80ac-96205cacb45a_story_1.html

Stop back by the FRHA blog Thursday for more places to turn to health care exchange information.

Learn how the Affordable Care Act impacts rural Florida and the nation by registering for the FRHA 20th Annual Educational Summit held in Gainesville Nov. 20-22. Click here for check out the agenda and learn more.