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Floridians: March deadline for ACA sign-up fast approaching

As the March 31st deadline to sign up for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) approaches, the South Florida Business Journal reported that enrollment in the ACA’s Federal insurance exchange had increased by 54 percent over the numbers reported last month.

Like other states controlled by Republican legislators, Florida refused to expand Medicaid under the ACA, so its exchanges are run by the Federal government.

Florida’s total enrollment so far is second only to California, which has a state-run exchange.

Although Florida is the fourth largest state in the country, it ranks #2 in terms of the numbers of uninsured residents. Twenty-five percent (3.8 million) of Floridians under age 65 lack insurance.

According to the South Florida Business Journal report, 90 percent of Floridians who have enrolled so far have low enough income levels to qualify for federal financial assistance.

Almost one third of enrollees were between ages 55 and 64.

However, only about one quarter were between ages 18 and 34 which is significantly lower than health policy experts hoped for in order to make the ACA economically viable long term. Because this group tends to be healthier, they would be expected to balance out older, sicker consumers.

As an explanation for the less than hoped for numbers, Federal officials state that they expect a last minute rush as many people wait until close to the deadline before signing up.

For more information:

- Check out this site created by the state to provide information about the many issues related to the ACA

- Check out this guide that provides specific information for Florida internists and patients on the resources that are available to them.