Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida News

Amid Political Turmoil
ACA Open Enrollment Set to Begin

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Tallahassee, FL – News that healthcare premiums under the Affordable Care Act will rise by double digits next year has Donald Trump renewing his calls to repeal the program and Hillary Clinton promising to fix it. But experts say Floridians need to turn down the political noise as open enrollment begins this week.

Jody Ray, director of the outreach organization Florida Covering Kids and Families, said most Floridians on the ACA exchange will not see big changes. That's because the state's average premium increase will be lower than in other parts of the country, and the subsidies many receive will rise right along with the premiums, ensuring that coverage remains affordable.

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"They're also getting those additional cost-sharing reductions, which further reduces their out-of-pocket costs," Ray said, "such as lower deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance."

It will be necessary to shop around, she said, and getting the best deal may require switching plans. Open enrollment begins November 1 and will run through January 31, 2017. Those looking for coverage to being in January must enroll by December 15. More information is available online at healthcare.gov.

At least 2 million Floridians are still uninsured, and a recent Kaiser Family Foundation report estimated more than 600,000 of them are eligible for subsidies. Ray said her group and others will be focusing on those people over the next several weeks./p>

"Mechanics, day laborers, tourist industry folks who work in restaurants and salons," Ray said, "very localized, community businesses."

She added that at least 100,000 Floridians are currently paying full price for their plans, even though they're eligible for tax credits that could bring their cost down. She said free help is available to navigate the system at GetCoveredAmerica.org. 

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