Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Open Enrollment for Affordable Care Act “ACA” Insurance Begins November 1

Photo collage of people with headline: Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment November 1 through January 15
Photo: HSS | Columbia County Observer graphic

TALAHASSEE, FL – Florida has seen record-high enrollment for health insurance in recent years, and the trend is expected to continue as open enrollment through the Affordable Care Act begins next Tuesday.

One change Floridians will notice this year is how Congress expanded the subsidies for health insurance premiums. People who purchase plans through the federal exchange will pay no more than 8.5% of their household income through 2025.

Additional Info from HSS:

In 2021 and 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) substantially increased funding for Marketplace outreach and education, and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) offered enhanced and expanded premium tax credits. These policies were designed to expand coverage, including among populations with historically higher uninsured rates such as Black and Latino consumers.

However, over 30 percent of Marketplace enrollees have missing race and ethnicity information in HealthCare.gov administrative enrollment data, which is a barrier to measuring progress in improving equitable coverage rates.

To address this data limitation, the Office of Health Policy analyzed race and ethnicity for HealthCare.gov enrollment data from the 2015 to 2022 Open Enrollment Periods using validated imputation techniques for missing data.

The Race and Ethnicity report is here.

This section added by the Observer

Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer for United Healthcare employer and individual, said it is important to set aside time to compare all the available plans and understand your family's needs.

"Just because you had a certain coverage last year, you might not want to have that coverage roll over," Randall noted. "You want to make sure that you're looking into what your options for 2023 look like."

Randall pointed out more insurers are expanding their mental-health coverage and offering more virtual care options, which gained popularity during the pandemic.

She advised it is important to consider the value of having an integrated plan covering specialty care, such as hearing, dental, or vision. She added that United Healthcare has posted online videos to help people navigate the exchange and the sometimes confusing insurance terminology.

More insurance companies are also expanding their wellness incentives. They may offer discounted rates for people who exercise, do not smoke, and work to lower their blood pressure. Randall emphasized your goal should be to find a plan which helps you navigate the healthcare system.

"So, you're looking for also a health plan that's going to have good advocacy," Randall recommended. "Whether it's a digital interaction or you're calling your health plan to interact, they're helping you maximize your benefits and services in getting you to the care that you need at the right time."

Open enrollment is the only time during the year, outside a special enrollment window, when people can sign up for a plan or change their current health coverage.

Open enrollment runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 15.

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