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5 Years of Obamacare and FL Leads Enrollment

www.healthcare.gov/marketplace

The Affordable Care Act turns five this week, and Florida leads the nation in the number of consumers buying health insurance.

While about 1.6 million residents already have signed up for coverage, the number signing up for Obamacare could grow even more, thanks to income tax season.

Floridians who didn’t buy health insurance off the federal HealthCare.gov marketplace for this year are getting a second change buy coverage. Kind of.

People who file taxes and realize they have to pay a penalty for not having health coverage last year, can go ahead and sign up now, avoiding the penalty in 2016.

Pamela Roshell with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said that may boost enrollment figures in Florida, which leads the nation in the number of people signing up.

“We are seeing some real interest from consumers that simply did not know that they were subject to a fee and are trying to avoid that scenario for next year,” said Roshell.

A new federal report on the anniversary says Florida is losing $8.9 billion and 71,000 jobs by not expanding Medicaid.

Even without expansion, Florida’s uninsured rate has dropped to 18 percent from 22 percent and Florida leads the nation in new signups for health insurance, officials said.

“And 72 percent of consumers in the Florida market were able to obtain coverage for $100 or less per month,” Roshell said.

Miami led the state in new signups, while Orlando was the second largest market in Florida for new signups.

Abe Aboraya is a reporter with WMFE in Orlando. WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.