More than 14.5 million people in the United States get their health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace (sometimes called Obamacare), and more than 2.7 million of them live here in Florida. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) that created the Marketplace was passed more than 10 years ago, but there have been several recent changes that may surprise you.
Here are five things may not know about Health Insurance Marketplace.
1. You’ve got until January 15 to enroll. The Marketplace Open Enrollment Period is Nov. 1 until Jan. 15, , giving you almost 11 weeks to enroll in a new health insurance plan or switch your current one for 2022. However, if you want your insurance to kick in on Jan. 1, you still need to enroll in a plan by Dec. 15,. If you miss that December deadline, your health plan won’t start protecting you until Feb. 1.
2. If you were told you make too much money, take another look. In 2021, the federal government raised the income cutoff to receive financial help to lower your monthly insurance payment. Previously, you had to make less than 400% of poverty level to qualify for help (that was $106,000 for a family of four). Now, you can find a health insurance plan that’s no more than 8.5% of your household income. What does that mean? Parents in their 40s with two teenagers can make up to $182,700 a year and still get help lowering their monthly insurance bill.
3. More working families now qualify for financial help. If your job offers health insurance coverage, but your family is uninsured because it costs more than you can afford, there’s help. Your family may now be able to get an ACA plan with financial assistance. A typical family of four in Florida with an income of $53,000 could save more than $5,000. Find out if you are one of more than 269,000 people in Florida who qualify.
4. Early retirees can get major savings. The new rule limiting your health insurance costs for a baseline plan to 8.5% has huge advantages for early retirees and other older adults who don’t qualify for Medicare yet. Older adults often face higher prices for health insurance, but the 2021 changes help address that. A 60-year-old couple previously had to make less than $69,680 yearly to qualify for help paying their insurance costs. Now, their yearly income can be up to $237,300 and they’ll still qualify for assistance.
5. Hundreds of thousands of people in Florida are missing out on $0 health insurance bills. Getting a bill that says you owe $0 may sound too good to be true, but it really does happen. The federal government increased financial assistance to help people pay for health insurance. In fact, four out of five people qualified for a Marketplace plan that cost them $10 or less each month in 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And, the state’s leading health insurer, Florida Blue, estimates more than 174,000 people are still uninsured even though they qualify for a $0 Marketplace plan.
6. Getting a Marketplace subsidy won’t impact your immigration status. Financial assistance for health insurance (also called a subsidy) isn’t just for U.S. citizens. Many lawfully present immigrants qualify for help paying for insurance through the Marketplace, including green card holders and those with work or student visas. And receiving this financial help will not negatively impact your immigration status and process due to the public charge regulations, which were eliminated in March 2021.
If you want to learn more about these changes or need some help understanding how health insurance and the Health Insurance Marketplace works, check out GetCoveredFlorida.com.