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Brace for Ad Wars

Florida is one of the states that will see an ad blitz promoting the online Marketplace, with just over three weeks to go until the federal shopping site for the uninsured is due to open. The Obama administration plans to spend more than $12 million on the ad buy in states led by Republican governors and lawmakers who have been hostile to the Affordable Care Act.

And the spend could grow; reports, the administration awarded a $41 million contract to a public relations firm earlier this year to promote participate.

In other news about Obamacare:

--The administration released a proposal on ways  to reduce the red tape that employers face when the "mandate" that they cover their workforce or pay a penalty takes hold in 2015.  The Treasury Department is asking for feedback by early November, the Associated Press reports.

--New reports on the cost of premiums for individual health coverage from neutral research organizations tend to agree that the widely predicted "sticker shock" has not shown up so far, as McClatchy Newsreports. Kaiser Family Foundation, Avalere Health and the Rand Corp. all found that while prices will  vary state to state, the premiums were coming in as competitive and affordable. Florida was not among the states in the analysis because the rates have not yet been published.

Avalere found a mid-range "silver" plan would cost a 21-year-old an average of $270 a month, a 40-year-old $330,   and a 60-year-old $615, as theAssociated Pressreports. But there are less-expensive "bronze" plans that have lower premiums and higher out-of-pocket expense.

Most uninsured people who use the online Marketplace are not expected to pay those prices. About 80 percent of shoppers are expected to qualify for tax credits and subsidies that will lower the cost.

--Enroll America, a non-profit organization conducting an educational campaign about the Marketplace, is planning a host of events around the state this weekend.

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.