Sunday, December 17, 2017
Health

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

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 [email protected] or (727) 893-8330. Follow @kmcgrory.

Comments
Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Shrieks of laughter echoed off the walls of the hospital as Thunder the mini pig flopped onto his side and the children huddled around him, scratching his pink, hairy belly. He and his wet-nosed partner, Bolt, drew patients in wheelchairs and bandage...
Published: 12/15/17
Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Today is the day that open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act will close for most people. But those affected by the slew of hurricanes that pummelled Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and other states earlier this year can take advantage of a two-week ...
Published: 12/15/17
City Council sinks deal to alter ownership of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg

City Council sinks deal to alter ownership of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — After months of tense negotiations and weeks of political impasse, the City Council on Thursday derailed a proposal that would have changed the ownership structure of the city’s largest hospital, Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.The 5-...
Published: 12/14/17
Florida hospitals call for more funding in effort to address looming doctor shortage

Florida hospitals call for more funding in effort to address looming doctor shortage

The number of doctors practicing in Florida has not kept up with the state’s surging population growth, and more money is needed to recruit and keep them here, hospital leaders said Wednesday.The shortage is particularly acute in four speciality area...
Published: 12/13/17
An overlooked epidemic: Older Americans taking too many unneeded drugs

An overlooked epidemic: Older Americans taking too many unneeded drugs

Consider it America’s other prescription drug epidemic.For decades, experts have warned that older Americans are taking too many unnecessary drugs, often prescribed by multiple doctors, for dubious or unknown reasons. Researchers estimate that 25 per...
Published: 12/13/17
How is Florida’s health? Not so great, report says

How is Florida’s health? Not so great, report says

Florida slightly improved its national standing this year, rising from 36th to 32nd overall in the annual America’s Health Rankings report. But the takeaway for the nation’s third-largest state is that it has a long way to go in many important health...
Published: 12/12/17
Driven by demand, Planned Parenthood opens second clinic in Tampa

Driven by demand, Planned Parenthood opens second clinic in Tampa

The floor-to-ceiling glass windows are heavily tinted and the inside is hidden behind rows of curtains. Security cameras monitor every corner, and only patients with an appointment and valid identification can pass through the intentionally cramped e...
Published: 12/12/17
Video: Jimmy Kimmel holds his baby son, post-heart surgery, in emotional health-care monologue

Video: Jimmy Kimmel holds his baby son, post-heart surgery, in emotional health-care monologue

Jimmy Kimmel was absent from his ABC late-night show last week while his 8-month-old son, Billy, recovered from his second heart surgery. Ever since Billy was born with a heart defect and required immediate surgery, Kimmel has become an outspoken adv...
Published: 12/12/17
Record numbers are signing up for Obamacare in Florida as enrollment period draws to a close

Record numbers are signing up for Obamacare in Florida as enrollment period draws to a close

With just four days left to enroll for health insurance on the federal exchange, advocates for the Affordable Care Act say Florida is headed for a record-breaking year. In week five of the six-week open enrollment period, about 823,180 people signed ...
Published: 12/12/17
A boy shares the pain of being bullied - inspiring thousands to show him love (w/video)

A boy shares the pain of being bullied - inspiring thousands to show him love (w/video)

While fighting back tears, young Keaton Jones couldn’t stop asking one question: Why?"Just out of curiosity, why do they bully? What’s the point of it?" he asks his mother while in the passenger seat of a parked car. "Why do you find joy in taking in...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17