Health Insurance Now!

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Dr. Xonjenese Jacobs, Dir. of Florida Covering Kids & Families

January 16 is the last day of open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace, aka Obamacare. While anyone can always purchase health insurance at full price from private insuance providers, January 16 is the last day to obtain federal subsidies to reduce the cost of your health insurance premiums if you meet the income qualifications. Free, unbiased health care navigators from the Florida Covering Kids and Families (FCKF) program based at USF are available to assist you in determining your income qualification, and to provide you with information about the best health care plans for you and your family from the Obamacare marketplace.

Health Insurance Help is Standing By

Dr. Xonjenese Jacobs, Dr.PH, Director of Florida Covering Kids and Families, joined MidPoint on Wednesday to discuss their program and its particular value to low income and no income people in Florida who are only now becoming aware that their Medicaid coverage has lapsed since the automatic extension of coverage provided during the Covid pandemic is now expiring. With the Medicaid “unwinding,” more people are eligible for the special enrollment period to allow them to secure subsidized insurance from the marketplace if they have lost their Medicaid coverage, but many people do not realize that their Medicaid coverage has lapsed until they seek out medical care.  She explained the importance of seeking alternative health insurance coverage from the marketplace right now, before health care is needed, and she emphasized that FCKF navigators are standing by to assist. Dr. Jacobs also noted that the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act have increased the size of the insurance premium subsidies for people with incomes below 400% of the poverty level, so coverage may be available and more affordable to more people than ever.  In fact, for more than a decade, the FCKF program has led the country by assisting the most enrollees to find coverage in the health insurance marketplace, and this year promises to be no different.

No Medicaid Expansion for Florida

Florida is one of only ten (10) states that has refused to expand Medicaid, the federal health insurance program for some low income, no income and low asset Americans. Florida is also the 4th most expensive state for health insurance in the country, after South Dakota, Louisiana and West Virginia. Nevertheless, yesterday, on the opening day of the 2024 Florida legislative session, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo announced that “Medicaid expansion is not going to happen in Florida.”  Instead, the legislature is preparing a package of bills called the “Live Healthy Campaign” that, among other things, proposes to grow the healthcare workforce in Florida, provide more transparency in health care pricing, provide forgiveable loans to doctors and nurses who agree to do volunteer health services, and develop behavioral health teaching hospitals and free-standing birthing centers throughout Florida, all with the goal of bolstering Florida’s health care workforce and infrastructure.  WMNF News will be following these health care proposals as they move through the legislature this session.

Dr. Jacobs encourages everyone needing health insurance to contact an FCKF navigator as soon as possible to review their options before the January 16 deadline. They can be reached at 877-813-9115 or on their website https://coveringflorida.org. Navigators are available Monday-Friday 9am to 5 pm. Weekend and evening hours are also available by appointment.

CHIP/Medicaid Support for children and families losing coverage is available at 813-591-0320, Monday-Friday 8 am to 5 pm. Weekend and evening hours are also available by appointment. That website is https://floridaconnectingkidstocoverage.com

Listen to the show in its entirety here, or on the WMNF app, or as a WMNF MidPoint podcast wherever you get your podcasts.

 

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