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Health News Florida

Tuesday Marks Deadline For ACA Sign-Ups In Florida

Healthcare-gov deadline dec 15.png

Analysts and advocates who follow sign-up season say interest has gotten stronger with the coronavirus pandemic.

A crush of sign-ups is expected Tuesday on the last day of open enrollment for HealthCare.gov.

That could help solidify the standing of Obamacare as an improbable survivor in the Donald Trump years.

In 36 states that use HealthCare.gov - including Florida - Dec. 15 is deadline day for coverage that starts Jan. 1. Another 14 states and Washington, D.C., have later dates. After this date, you can enroll or change plans only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

Analysts and advocates who follow sign-up season say interest has gotten stronger with the coronavirus pandemic.

Also, the legal cloud hanging over the Affordable Care Act seemed to start lifting last month when Supreme Court justices gave a skeptical reception to the latest challenge from the Trump administration.

In Florida, 10 insurance companies and HMOs are participating in the exchange this year. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida offers policies in every county, the only carrier to do so. Celtic Insurance Company offers policies in 63 counties but does not offer insurance to residents of Hendry, Martin, Monroe and Taylor counties.

While more insurance companies are offering plans in 2021, the cost of coverage will be slightly higher, mostly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier approved a 3.1 percent increase for 2021 rates.

The biggest mistake people make is missing the deadline, said Charlene Zein, senior vice president of Ambetter from Sunshine Health. Ambetter is headquartered in South Florida and is among the companies selling ACA plans in the marketplace.

“Take the time today to research your options, because health insurance may be more affordable than you think,” she said. “The deadline is almost here, but you still have time to make a decision that could benefit you and your family.”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released data this month showing 871,361 Florida residents had chosen plans between Nov. 1 and Nov. 28. That led the nation in plan selection. Texas, with 471,849, was second in November, followed by Georgia, with 198,090.

Information from WLRN and News Service of Florida was used in this report.