How to deal with rising rates for 2017 health insurance
In addition to rate increases that are, on average, lower than elsewhere in the nation, Floridians who live in Miami-Dade County, which includes Miami, and enroll in coverage through HealthCare.gov, the state’s federally facilitated exchange, will see their plan options remain about the same. For 2017, Florida’s federally facilitated exchange includes 61 total plan options for Miami-Dade County; 18 of them are bronze. In 2016, there were 57 plan options, and 19 of them were bronze.
Is there anything Miami residents can do to lower their health insurance costs?
Under the Affordable Care Act, if the only health insurance plans available to someone cost more than 8.16 percent of their income (this is the amount for 2017), then they may qualify for a hardship exemption from the individual shared responsibility provision and thereby can avoid the tax penalty.3
In Miami-Dade County, the annual premium for a 35-year-old who purchases the lowest-cost bronze plan is $3,170. That individual would need to make between $35,000 and $37,500 per year to qualify for a hardship exemption, which would be claimed on their federal tax return.
Florida rate increases and middle-class individuals, families
To see how rate hikes could impact middle-class individuals and families who buy Obamacare plans and do not qualify for subsidies, we obtained quotes for the lowest-cost bronze plans available in Miami-Dade County through HealthCare.gov in 2016 and 2017. That plan is offered by Molina.
In comparing finalized rates from 2016 and 2017, we found premium increases of 19.68 percent across the board for the brackets we quoted: a 35-year-old male and a family of four with two male and two female members, all of them nonsmoking.4
We then broke down these rates and increases, and looked at how many cups of coffee could be purchased each month for the same amount.
Other ways to lower healthcare costs in FL
Even with an exemption, consumers may want to consider some form of healthcare benefits to help lower out-of-pocket exposure to medical bills. Anyone who claims an exemption or shops for individual and family health plans in Florida’s private market or through HealthCare.gov may want to consider working with a local, licensed health insurance agent. These individuals can help you navigate coverage options, including Obamacare plans as well as supplemental coverage such as critical illness, dental, hospital indemnity, and medical gap products to help lower out-of-pocket healthcare costs.