More time to choose, more money to educate, could mean more enrollment in Obamacare in 2022

obamacare (Large)
How high will Florida enrollment in Obamacare reach for 2022?

More, more, more.

Monday marked the start of open enrollment for 2022 health insurance coverage in the federal health insurance exchange under a law often referred to as Obamacare.

The 2022 open enrollment runs for a 10-week period, from Nov. 1 through Jan. 15, giving residents more time to choose a plan than they had last year when open enrollment was limited to six weeks. There also is more money being directed at so-called “navigators” to help people enroll in the federal health insurance exchange.

Florida Covering Kids and Families at the University of South Florida received an $11.9 million grant earlier this year from the Biden administration to increase outreach programs and enrollment in the federal health insurance exchange. That’s a significant increase from the $1.6 million grant the center received last year

Jodi Ray, executive director of Florida Covering Children and Families, uses the money to fund Covering Florida, the name given to the consortium of local navigator organizations that work collectively to promote open enrollment in the federal health insurance program and educate consumers about their health insurance options,

Ray said the bump in navigator funding has allowed Covering Florida to expand to 10 the number of regional partners in the consortium this year. Covering Florida has reunited with 90 Works Pensacola, the navigator in Northwest Florida, and also is working with the United Way of Brevard County.

Additionally, Epilepsy Florida, which has worked with Covering Florida providing navigator services in Southeast Florida, has expanded its service area north to include the Treasure Coast, which includes Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee counties.

Covering Florida has navigators in all 67 counties to provide free outreach and enrollment services.

Ray expects the increased funding for navigation services and the increased open enrollment period to yield increases in the number of people enrolled in the federal health insurance exchange for 2022.

“I would expect higher numbers simply because we have the resources to provide that level of assistance. We had a limit to how much we could do before with such a small amount of resources,” she said. Ray said lengthening the time for open enrollment also was a good idea. “I think six weeks was too short. And I think we needed more time. Too many people missed deadlines,” she said.

The number of people enrolled in the federal health insurance exchange in Florida topped 2.25 million in August according to federal data, more than any other state. About 400,000 of those people enrolled in an Obamacare plan during a special open enrollment period the Biden administration authorized in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In all, for the 2022 calendar year, there are 539 different health plans being offered on the federal health insurance by 14 different companies on the federal health insurance exchange for the 2022 calendar year, according to the state insurance departrrment.

According to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, the costs of health plans increased by an average 6.6% for 2022 and on average an individual policy will cost $642 a month. State insurance data shows the monthly cost but doesn’t take into consideration premiums subsidies that will offset those costs.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


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