Enrollment for the Affordable Care Act reopens. Here’s what you need to know

Nearly 2 million Floridians get health insurance through the ACA

FILE - This image provided by U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service shows the website for HealthCare.gov. Government figures out Friday, Dec. 18 show sign-ups for Obamacare health insurance plans are trending more than 6% higher amid surging coronavirus cases and deepening economic misery. (U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service via AP) (Uncredited)

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act is set to reopen Monday and stay open for the next three months.

This special enrollment period for the ACA, also known as Obamacare, comes after President Joe Biden signed an executive order in January which calls on the Department of Health and Human Services to reopen enrollment on healthcare.gov. The website serves 36 states including Florida, to those who need coverage from Feb. 15 until May 15. The goal of this special enrollment period is to help uninsured Americans weather the pandemic.

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The last enrollment period on federal exchanges opened Nov. 1 and closed Dec. 15. Former President Donald Trump’s administration had cut the open enrollment period of the ACA down from its original three months to six weeks. The Trump administration had faced pressure from insurance industry groups, America’s Health Insurance Plans and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, to extend that enrollment period during the pandemic, but ultimately shot down the idea.

In signing this executive order last month, Biden said it was in direct response to Trump’s treatment of the ACA, a law Biden helped champion as vice president.

“Today, I’m about to sign two executive orders that basically, the best way to describe them, to undo the damage Trump has done,” Biden said.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, there are currently approximately 15 million uninsured Americans. Of those, about 8.9 million, or 60%, are eligible for free or reduced-price bronze plans through the ACA, a KFF analysis found. Bronze plans often feature high deductibles, which require upfront payment for medical costs before coverage kicks in.

According to the most recent data from KFF, 13.1% of Floridians were uninsured as of 2019. That’s more than 2.8 million people.

Florida saw the highest enrollment in the ACA of any state in the country heading into 2020; more than 1.9 million Floridians signed up, according to healthinsurance.org, which describes itself as an independent site offering consumer information on health and medical coverage. That is an increase of about 7%, or 130,671 more Floridians, over 2019 enrollment, according to KFF.

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About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.