Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Final tally shows nearly 1 million Floridians signed up for health insurance

Nearly a million Floridians signed up for health care plans sold through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, the most of any state that used the federal marketplace rather than create one of its own.

But the final enrollment counts, released Thursday by the Obama administration, can't yet answer the question of how the law is affecting Florida's high rate of residents who have no health insurance. Administration officials acknowledged they don't yet know how many of those who signed up for plans were merely switching from other insurance and how many previously had no coverage.

Still, officials said they were pleased that the final tally exceeded expectations, despite the many challenges people faced navigating the marketplace, including a government web site that didn't function when it rolled out. "Together we are ensuring that health coverage is more accessible than ever before," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Overall, more than 8 million Americans picked a plan through government exchanges, more than the 7 million that had been expected. Just under 30 percent of enrollees are ages 18 to 34, a group insurers covet since they generally have fewer health expenses than older people.

Insurers, who can no longer discriminate against people with pre-existing health conditions, are counting on a good mix of customers to keep their plans affordable.

Some studies consider 40 percent in the young adult age group optimal to stabilize the market. Still, 30 percent is a higher share than the exchanges initially saw.

The young adult population makes up about 27 percent of Florida's signups, an improvement from January's 20 percent. Many experts had expected young adults to wait toward the end of the enrollment period before signing up.

The new report also released for the first time a breakdown of consumers by race. In Florida, about 20 percent of people who purchased plans are Latino and another 20 percent are black. Whites made up the majority of the people who chose a plan, about 54 percent.

Overall, Florida's enrollment more than doubled over the month of March, the third biggest jump in the nation.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates another 5 million people nationwide bought individual coverage directly from private insurers. Those consumers don't get tax subsidies since they didn't go through government exchanges, but the policies they buy meet the new federal coverage requirements.

The 2014 private insurance market is now closed for business except for consumers who qualify for a special enrollment period, such as those who have lost a job or had a baby. Plans for next year go on sale this fall.

Nearly 3.8 million people in Florida lacked health insurance as of last year.

An estimated 800,000 will remain uninsured due to the Florida Legislature's decision to reject $51-billion in federal funding to expand Medicaid eligibility, a key part of the Affordable Care Act. Because of the way the law is written, those Floridians fall into a coverage gap: They can't qualify for Medicaid but they're too poor to qualify for tax subsidies to buy coverage.

Florida's political climate is widely seen as hostile to the Affordable Care Act, yet consumers still enrolled. Obama administration officials credited an outreach campaign that included local organizations and popular enrollment fairs.

That work "really helped to make a difference in that state," said Julie Bataille, spokeswoman for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, released a statement touting Florida's enrollment figure, officially 983,775.

"One million Floridians are breathing easier as affordable health insurance that was previously out of reach now provides financial security. Despite political obstruction and scare tactics, Florida and Tampa Bay navigators and health care outreach partners successfully aided scores of our neighbors," said Castor.

Jodie Tillman can be reached at

Final tally shows nearly 1 million Floridians signed up for health insurance 05/01/14 [Last modified: Thursday, May 1, 2014 10:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Putin visits France, hopes to mend strained ties with West


    VERSAILLES, France — On a visit likely to shape Russia-France ties for years, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin at the sumptuous Palace of Versailles on Monday for what the newly-elected French leader said would be "demanding" talks on Syria, the Ukrainian crisis and other …

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, is welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Palace of Versailles, near Paris, France, Monday. Monday's meeting comes in the wake of the Group of Seven's summit over the weekend where relations with Russia were part of the agenda, making Macron the first Western leader to speak to Putin after the talks. [AP photo]
  2. Five cool things to do when it's hot outside


    Summer is not officially here, but it may as well be. School is out, vacations are coming, and it's time to enjoy the outdoors. Don't buy the argument that summer in Florida is too hot to get outside. There is plenty to do, and we'll prove it. Here are five cool things to do outdoors during another hot summer.

    Rainbow Springs State Park is a registered natural landmark. Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon is one several state parks with natural swimming holes in Florida. (Octavio Jones | Times)
  3. Clearwater man dies after diving from boat into shallow waters

    Public Safety

    A 49-year-old man died after he jumped off a pontoon boat into shallow waters Sunday in the Gulf of Mexico.

  4. Restaurant review: Features Gastropub in Riverview is fine as movie theater fare, but unimpressive otherwise

    Food & Dining

    Movies aren't exactly dying. Despite all the sturm und drang of predictions that Netflix and streaming videos would kill the cinema, global box office receipts hit $38.6 billion in 2016, a 1 percent gain over the previous year. But that doesn't mean going to the cinema is precisely what it was a generation …

    The Features Gastropub is located inside the Riverview 14 GDX theater in Gibsonton, Fla. on Thursday, May 25, 2017.   The 5,900-square-foot Features Gastropub open in the . This element of the project is the brainchild of Philadelphia chef Brian Duffy, who appears frequently on NBC's The Today Show and the Spike TV show Bar Rescue
  5. JFK's last birthday: Gifts, champagne and wandering hands on the presidential yacht


    It has been 100 years since John F. Kennedy's birth on May 29, 1917, at his parents' home in Brookline, Mass., just outside Boston. Over the course of his life, Kennedy enjoyed lavish birthday celebrations, the most famous being a Democratic fundraising bash at Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1962, when a sequined …

    President John F. Kennedy aboard the Sequoia in 1963 opening birthday presents. [Robert Knudsen | John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum]