Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

When it comes to Obamacare sign-ups, Tampa Bay keeps its top 10 ranking

Downtown Tampa, one of the iconic views representing the Tampa Bay region, which this year is one of the top 10 metro areas in the nation for Obamacare sign-ups. [Times file photo]

Downtown Tampa, one of the iconic views representing the Tampa Bay region, which this year is one of the top 10 metro areas in the nation for Obamacare sign-ups. [Times file photo]

Tampa Bay remained among the top regions in the nation for Obamacare sign-ups in 2016, according to figures released Thursday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

More than 284,000 local residents chose health insurance plans on the Affordable Care Act marketplace during the open enrollment period that ended Jan. 31. Only seven metropolitan areas in states using a federally run exchange enrolled more people: Miami, Atlanta, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston, Orlando, Chicago and Philadelphia.

"We beat expectations," said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Tampa Democrat who supports the Affordable Care Act. "It's good news for our entire community. People will be able to see a doctor or a nurse and get the care they need … and those who already have insurance won't have to pick up the tab for other people."

Nationally, the number of consumers who signed up for coverage or had their existing plans automatically renewed for 2016 topped 12.7 million, according to federal health officials. The overall number included more than 4 million new consumers.

Florida once again led all states using a federally facilitated marketplace with 1.7 million enrollees.

Raymond Paultre, the Florida state director for the nonprofit Enroll America, said the figure "shows what we've been seeing in communities across Florida –— consumers continue to want affordable health coverage and jumped at the opportunity to protect themselves and their family."

But Paultre, whose organization held enrollment events across the state, said there is still work to do. A report issued before the end of the open enrollment period found Florida still had more than 2.8 million uninsured residents.

Castor pointed out that many of those residents fall in the so-called "coverage gap," meaning they make too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to receive the subsidies that help offset the cost of Obamacare plans.

The state Legislature has repeatedly refused federal funds to expand health insurance coverage to 800,000 residents.

People who didn't enroll this year faced a tax penalty of $695 for every adult in their household or 2.5 percent of household income, up from $325 per person or 2 percent of household income last year.

Contact Kathleen McGrory at or (727) 893-8330. Follow @kmcgrory.

Obamacare enrollment

The following 10 metropolitan areas led the nation in Affordable Care Act signs-ups in 2016:

Miami-Ft. Lauderdale 643,911

Atlanta 443,720

Dallas-Ft. Worth 382,669

Houston 346,822

Orlando-Daytona Beach 329,684

Chicago 310,523

Philadelphia 291,175

Tampa-St. Pete-Sarasota 284,753

New York 228,538

Charlotte 208,622

Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

When it comes to Obamacare sign-ups, Tampa Bay keeps its top 10 ranking 02/04/16 [Last modified: Thursday, February 4, 2016 7:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lost Highway: As FHP struggles to recruit, speeding tickets plummet

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The number of speeding tickets written by Florida state troopers has plunged three straight years as the agency grapples with a personnel shortage and high turnover.

    A Florida Highway Patrol Academy class in the late 1980s. Typically, graduating classes had about 80 recruits. But the most recent class has less than half that as the agency continues to struggle to fill vacancies. [

Florida: Highway Patrol]
  2. Kidpreneurs — and adults — capitalize on gooey, squishy Slime craze


    First it was Play-Doh. Then Gak. There have been dozens of variations for sale of the oozy, gooey, squishable, stretchable kids' toy through the generations.

    Aletheia Venator and Berlyn Perdomo demonstrate the stretchiness of their slime. - Berlyn Perdomo and her friend, Aletheia Venator, both 13, make and sell slime which can be seen on their instagram site @the.real.slimeshadyy [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  3. After last year's drug-related deaths, Tampa's Sunset Music Festival says it's stepping up safety, security

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Alex Haynes worked three jobs. He had a fiance and an infant son. He owned his own home in Melbourne. Last summer, the 22-year-old attended the Sunset Musical Festival at Raymond James Stadium.

    He left in an ambulance.

    Last year’s Sunset Music Festival was marked by dozens of medical emergencies.
  4. What you need to know for Friday, May 26


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Read this morning why Florida's most prized sweet corn is nearly extinct. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. The last farmer of Florida's prized Zellwood corn is thinking of packing it in


    MOUNT DORA — Hank Scott steps out of his pickup between the long rows and snaps off an ear that grows about bellybutton-high on the forehead-high stalks.

    Hank Scott, co-owner of Long and Scott Farms, shucks an ear of corn on the farm in Mount Dora, Fla., on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. The farm specializes in Scott's Zellwood Triple-Sweet Gourmet Corn. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times