Floridians who may not find a way to afford medical health insurance can now get access to free coverage under a special enrollment period for Reasonably priced Care Act plans.
The expanded enrollment comes because the federal health emergency that helped tens of millions of individuals gain Medicaid coverage in the course of the pandemic may very well be ending in the approaching months.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services launched the special enrollment period in March to assist Americans making as much as 150% of the federal poverty level receive free medical health insurance coverage. For a person, the cutoff is $19,320 and for a family of 4 it’s $39,750.
Officials say the temporary expansion could help those that have gained access to Medicaid in the course of the public health emergency, which began early on within the pandemic and continues today.
The general public health emergency provided additional Medicaid funding to states in the course of the pandemic and prevented them from disenrolling people from their Medicaid programs.
In Florida, enrollment in Medicaid programs for adults and kids increased by 23 percent, or 826,760 people, between February 2020 and September 2021, in response to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
But because the federal government considers ending the general public health emergency in the approaching months, 1000’s of Florida residents are prone to losing their Medicaid coverage.
The Biden administration previously prolonged the general public health emergency until April 16 and has said it might give states not less than 60 days notice before ending it.
For people and families that received extra support in the course of the pandemic, losing their coverage now may very well be difficult, said Jodi Ray, director of Florida Covering Kids and Families.
“Individuals who may need their health coverage taken away from them or might lose it would feel like the underside is falling out,” Ray said. “And the important thing here is, it is not, because there’s this other option that can assist so a lot of these folks.”
Ray’s group has been helping Floridians join for medical health insurance through the Reasonably priced Care Act because the first open enrollment period in 2013.
The group and its partners across Florida shall be available to assist those that need to enroll in medical health insurance during this special enrollment period, she said.
“Covering Florida navigators will find a way to assist them navigate through that process in order that they will maintain their access to health care services that they need,” Ray said.
One among the goals of the expansion is for people to get continued access to health care after the general public health emergency is over, she said.
“This provides an extra option for them to get coverage that they will afford.” Ray said.
The special enrollment period began mid-March and can proceed through December.
To enroll, visit healthcare.gov or contact Covering Florida at 877-813-9115 or www.coveringflorida.org.