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1M in FL Exempt From Penalty

More than 1 million low-income uninsured in Florida are spared from paying any penalty for not having health coverage under the Affordable Care Act as of Jan. 1, according to the rules issued this week by the Obama administration.

The law requires individuals to obtain coverage if they don't already have it as of Jan. 1, but nine categories of people are exempt, according to a fact sheetfrom the Department of Health and Human Services. One of those categories is for those who are under the federal poverty level but who have been left out of their state's Medicaid program.

Florida is among the states that spurned the opportunity to provide low-income adults that coverage. The decision meant turning down federal funds estimated at $51 billion over 10 years.

That vote by the state House of Representatives this spring left more than 1 million of the state's uninsured without health insurance.  They won't have to pay a penalty under the "hardship exemption," under the law.

Others in Florida who are exempt include members of the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes and other Native Americans in the state; undocumented immigrants; prisoners; and members of certain religions. 

For more details, see Kaiser Health News.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.