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With more than 20.6 million residents, Florida is the 3rd largest state in the U.S.1Its uninsured population is among the nation’s highest—Florida is tied for third with Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi and Utah, with approximately 12 percent of its population uninsured in 2016.2
Affordability could further impact this rate. When it comes to 2018 Obamacare plans, Floridians facean average premium increase of 45 percent, with one insurer (Molina Healthcare) requesting an increase of 71.2 percent.3Actual increases will vary depending on final, approved rates and market.
Why such dramatic increases? Political uncertainty, especially around the future of cost-sharing reduction payments(CSR).4 The Trump administration announced on Oct. 12, 2017, that it would stop paying insurers federal funds for this subsidy, which helps eligible individuals and families reduce out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.5 When filing 2018 rates Florida insurers proactively requested rate increases in anticipation this might occur.
Fortunately, Florida residents can choose from a range of health benefits options, including major medical, ACA-compliant plans as well as supplemental, dental and temporary coverage that can help them lower healthcare spending—with or without an Obamacare plan.
Whether you have an Obamacare plan or not, you can find additional health benefits to help with dental and medical expenses—expected and unexpected, large and small—throughout the year. There’s no open enrollment period for these products, which means you can apply any time and not just during ACA open or special enrollment periods.
Have a long-term plan for the unexpected. Hospital, surgical and critical illness benefits.
Subsidy-eligible plans for premium and out-of-pocket relief
Minnesotans can purchase individual and family health insurance plans through MNsure, which is the state’s ACA exchange, and also in the private health insurance market from a health insurance producer or company.
ACA exchange name: HealthCare.gov
Type: Federally facilitated
Average 2017 benchmark planpremium(before tax credit subsidy): $3066
Average 2017 benchmark plan premium (after tax credit subsidy): $2077
Average 2017 rate change: 19.1 percent8
Unofficial average 2018 rate change: As of Sept. 27, 2017, Floridainsurers had filed premium requests that would increase rates by an average of 45 percent in 2018.7
On-and off-marketplace individual health insurance plans
Five carriers filed rates for individual plans in2018. They include the following10:
Health insurance options beyond ACA exchanges
Minnesota residents who do not qualify for Obamacare subsidies or prefer to shop away from the ACA exchanges may do so. The off-exchange marketmayincludeadditional major medical plan options.
If the lowest-cost bronze Obamacare plan available to you costs more than 8.16 percent ofyour household income, including any premium tax credit subsidy you receive, you may qualify for an affordability exemption.11In this circumstance, if your exemption application is approved, you would not be required to have an ACA-compliant health insurance plan and could look for affordable alternatives to help you pay for healthcare expenses. Such options may include short term medical insurance, supplemental benefits, hospital plans, or a medical bundle.
Paying for healthcare deductibles and medical bills
Ultimately, the best insurance benefits are those that work with yourhealthcareand budgetary needs. Minnesotans can follow these steps to help keep their monthly plan premiums, annual deductible amount and medical bills as low and manageable as possible.
Do you need major medical coverage, supplemental benefits or both? Are you looking for a temporary plan while in between ACA-compliant coverage?
Do you have preexisting conditions? Do you qualify for income-based premium tax credits from an ACA exchange?
Do you want to keep monthly premiums as low as possible and use additional benefits to manage a high deductible?Are you self-employed? What can you afford to spend?
Once you have an idea of what products interest you and meet your needs, it’s time to find out what coverage will cost you. Compare plan premiums and benefits to find your match.
1United States Census Bureau. “Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016.” https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2016/demo/popest/state-total.html
2The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. “Health Insurance Coverage of the Total Population. Timeframe: 2015.” http://www.kff.org/state-category/health-coverage-uninsured/
3Yahoo Finance! “Health Insurers in Florida Request Premium Hikes as High as 71%.” Oct. 9, 2017. https://finance.yahoo.com/m/6795e954-8d18-3133-9f05-727978af0614/ss_health-insurers-in-florida.html
4Aboraya, Abe. “Primer: Why Florida Obamacare Health Insurance Rates are Going Up 45%.” Florida Trend. Oct. 11, 2017 http://www.floridatrend.com/article/23220/primer-why-florida-obamacare-health-insurance-rates-are-going-up-45
5Mathews, Anna Wilde. "Health Insurers Face Big Financial Hit After Trump Move to End ACA Subsidies." The Wall Street Journal. Oct. 13, 2017. https://www.wsj.com/articles/health-insurers-face-big-financial-hit-after-trump-move-to-end-aca-subsidies-1507902956
6Cox, Cynthia, et al. “2017 Premium Changes and Insurer Participation in the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplaces. Table 1: Monthly Silver Premiums and Financial Assistance for a 40 Year Old Non-Smoker Making $30,000/Year.” The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Last updated Nov. 1, 2016. http://www.kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/2017-premium-changes-and-insurer-participation-in-the-affordable-care-acts-health-insurance-marketplaces/
8Gaba, Charles. “Florida: *Approved *Unsubsidized* 2017 Indy Mkt Rate Hikes19.1% (vs. 17.7% requested).” ACASignups.net. Sept. 5, 2016.http://acasignups.net/16/09/05/florida-approved-2017-indy-market-rate-hikes-191-vs-177-requested
9Ochoa, Julio. “Obamacare Rates to Increase By Average of 45 Percent in 2018.” WUSF Public Media. Sept. 27, 2017. http://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/post/obamacare-rates-increase-45-percent-2018#stream/0
10Yahoo Finance! “Health Insurers in Florida Request Premium Hikes as High as 71%.” Oct. 9, 2017. https://finance.yahoo.com/m/6795e954-8d18-3133-9f05-727978af0614/ss_health-insurers-in-florida.html
11HealthCare.gov. “How to Claim an Exemption Because 2017 Marketplace Health Coverage Is Considered Unaffordable Based on Your Projected Annual Household Income.” Accessed Sept. 13, 2017. https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions-tool/#/results/2017/details/marketplace-affordability