A new analysis of Florida’s health care markets finds that as the state’s hospitals consolidate and expand, new business models are shifting the negotiating power.

The monthly premiums for many of the plans sold on the federal health insurance marketplace will be increasing for Floridians in 2016, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. 

Daylina Miller / Health News Florida

Last month's ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court on the Affordable Care Act means more than 1.4 million Floridians will keep their tax subsidies for health plans purchased on the federal marketplace at 

Florida and three dozen other states opted to use the federal marketplace instead of creating their own. That prompted a case that challenged the availability of tax subsidies for people in states that did not create their own marketplaces.

Study: 19 Million Uninsured If Law Repealed

Jun 22, 2015
U.S. Supreme Court

Repealing the federal health law would add an additional 19 million to the ranks of the uninsured in 2016 and increase the federal deficit over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said Friday.

Megan Milanese

When President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act five years ago, he visualized a time when the political hyperbole would be silenced and ordinary people would see that the health care law improved their lives.

The White House ceremony on March 23, 2010, was an applause-filled celebration. "When I sign this bill," Obama said, "all of the overheated rhetoric over reform will finally confront the reality of reform."

Several million Americans hit with new federal fines for going without health insurance are getting a second chance to sign up, and that could ease the sting of rising penalties for being uninsured.

But as the enrollment window reopened on Sunday in Florida and the 36 other states that use the federal health insurance marketplace at, it’s unclear how many know about the time-limited opportunity, let alone will take advantage of it.

The Florida Senate is getting ready to debate expanding Medicaid in Florida. The issue has been a major contention point between the House and Senate for the past three years.

Alan Levine, a favorite health policy wonk among Republicans, is offering some advice to the Florida Legislature: exercise a waiver, and get around much of the Affordable Care Act, Florida Politics reports.

  Doctors treating patients with Obamacare plans are encountering a lot of consumer misinformation, increased paperwork, heavier patients loads and the worry of unreliable reimbursements and payments, the Miami Herald reports.

South Florida doctors say they’ve had to turn away patients with plans to avoid these problems or have lost patients because of their misunderstanding of co-pays and deductibles, the Herald reports.

Ahead of the Sunday deadline to sign up for insurance on, the latest enrollment numbers show that close to 1.4 million people in Florida have signed up. That's more than any other state that uses the federal marketplace.

Experts See Need to Improve, Simplify ACA

Feb 10, 2015
Kaiser Health News

“Repeal and replace” has been the rallying cry for Republicans since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010. But now that most of the law’s provisions have taken effect, some health experts are pitching ways to improve it, rather than eliminate it.

An ideologically diverse panel at the National Health Policy Conference Monday presented somewhat different lists of ideas to make the law work better. But they all agreed on one thing: The Affordable Care Act is too complicated.

 A ZIP code in Hialeah has had more people enroll in a health plan on than any other place in the country using the federal exchange, the Miami Herald reports. As of mid-January, 12,330 people in Hialeah’s 33012 ZIP Code had signed up for an insurance plan.

Are you thinking about tax day yet? Your friendly neighborhood tax preparer is. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen declared this tax season one of the most complicated ever, partly because this is the first year that the Affordable Care Act will show up on your tax form.

Tax preparers from coast to coast are trying to get ready. Sue Ellen Smith manages an H&R Block office in San Francisco, and she is expecting things to get busy soon.

"This year taxes and health care intersect in a brand-new way," Smith says.

A new health-care policy plan from the Florida Chamber of Commerce backs an expansion of health coverage under an alternative to Medicaid expansion, the Florida Times-Union reports. The chamber president says they “largely agree" with the "A Healthy Florida Works” plan backed by several Florida business groups.

Sign-ups under President Barack Obama's health care law grew slowly but steadily over the New Year's holiday, as the share of Americans still lacking coverage hit its lowest level in years.

The Obama administration reported Wednesday that nearly 103,000 people signed up last week in the 37 states where the federal government is running online health insurance markets, bringing total enrollment for 2015 to 6.6 million in those states. The remaining states are running their own exchanges.

Lottie Watts / WUSF


Editor's note: Open enrollment on the federal health insurance marketplace started on Saturday, Nov.  15. The Health News Florida team is kicking off a series about the second year of open enrollment under the federal health law. First, we take a look at, the website that people in Florida and 36 other states use to buy a health insurance plan.  This year, open enrollment runs for three months, until Feb. 15, 2015.

Consumer Guide: SCOTUS Action on ACA Subsidies

Nov 10, 2014

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a case on a subject that’s important to millions of people who receive subsidies to help purchase coverage under the health-care law. Friday’s decision follows earlier action in July when two U.S. appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on the issue.  KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey answers some frequently asked questions about those court decisions and how they impact consumers.

Q: What did the Supreme Court do?

Florida's candidates for Attorney General met for their first and only debate earlier this month in the studios of Bay News 9.

More than 35,000 Florida residents have lost the health insurance they enrolled in under the federal health law because they didn’t prove U.S. citizenship or legal residency status by Sept. 5, the Miami Herald reports., the website for health insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care law, has been revamped as its second enrollment season approaches. But things are still complicated, since other major provisions of the Affordable Care Act are taking effect for the first time. A look at website and program changes just ahead:


Old: 76 online screens to muddle through in insurance application.

Employer Plans: Premiums, Consumer Costs Hike

Oct 14, 2014

Fall is enrollment season for many people who get insurance through their workplace. Premium increases for 2015 plans are expected to be modest on average, but the shift toward higher out-of-pocket costs overall for consumers will continue as employers try to keep a lid on their costs and incorporate health law changes.

Experts anticipate that premiums will rise a modest 4 percent in 2015, on average, slightly higher than last year but lower than typical recent Increases.

“That’s really low,” says Tracy Watts, a senior partner at benefits consultant Mercer.

Florida, Texas Expand Medicaid – For Kids

Sep 29, 2014

Republican lawmakers in Florida and Texas snubbed the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion for adults, but their states did broaden the program this year -- for school-age children.

The number of uninsured patients admitted to hospitals has dropped markedly this year, reducing charity care and bad debt cases, particularly in states that have expanded Medicaid coverage under the new federal health care law, a government report released Wednesday concluded.

The report from the Department of Health and Human Services said hospitals in states that have taken advantage of new Medicaid eligibility levels have seen uninsured admissions fall by about 30 percent. Florida is not one of those states.

CHIP Future Unclear Under Health Law

Sep 18, 2014

The Children’s Health Insurance Program, a joint federal-state program known as CHIP, has helped cut in half the number of uninsured children since being enacted less than two decades ago, but its future is in doubt due to limited funding in the federal health law of 2010.  A year from now, CHIP will run out of money.  Some advocates for the program want the federal government to finance CHIP for another four years, while other experts have suggested two would suffice.  The Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Health Care will hold a hearing on the issue Tuesday.

The rate of Floridians without health insurance stayed the same in 2013 from the previous year, according to figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Twenty percent of Floridians lacked health insurance last year, down slightly from a rate of 20.1 percent in 2012. But the change was within the margin of error, rendering it insignificant.

Nationwide, the rate was 14.5 percent.

Thousands of consumers risk losing financial aid for health care premiums under President Barack Obama's law unless they clear up lingering questions about their incomes, administration officials said Monday.

The Health and Human Services Department said some people who got coverage have reported incomes that don't square with what the government has on record. At least 279,000 households with income discrepancies face a Sept. 30 deadline to submit documentation. If not, their premiums will be adjusted up or down in November.

Potential complications await consumers as President Barack Obama's health care law approaches its second open enrollment season, just two months away.

Don't expect a repeat of last year's website meltdown, but the new sign-up period could expose underlying problems with the law itself that are less easily fixed than a computer system.

Getting those who signed up this year enrolled again for 2015 won't be as easy as it might seem. And the law's interaction between insurance and taxes looks like a sure-fire formula for confusion.

For example:

More than a third of likely Florida voters in a new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/UF Bob Graham Center poll say they want the federal Affordable Care Act repealed entirely. As the Times reports, 37.3 percent of likely Florida voters want the law known as Obamacare gone, and 20.9 percent want to see “major changes” to it.

FMA Supports Medicaid Expansion Money

Aug 6, 2014

I recently attended the Florida Medical Association annual meeting, where the organization develops policies for the coming year. The legislative agenda is drafted and approved.

FMA delegates from the specialty groups and county medical societies will vote on each resolution coming before the House. FMA lobbyists will then bring approved policy to Florida’s legislators and congressional representatives.

"Welcome to Cigna," said the letter, dated May 16, on behalf of my new employer, the Kaiser Family Foundation. The letter also said the insurer was placing me on a one-year waiting period for any pre-existing conditions.

Seriously? Wasn't the health law supposed to end that?

"We have reviewed the evidence of prior creditable coverage provided by you and/or your prior carrier and have determined that you have 0 days of creditable coverage," the letter said.