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Health and Human Services encourages Florida consumers to evaluate Marketplace options during upcoming Open Enrollment

Health and Human Services encourages Florida consumers to evaluate Marketplace options during upcoming Open Enrollment

New analysis shows 153,000 Florida residents currently buying individual health coverage off-Marketplace may be eligible for Affordable Care Act premium tax credits

From U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Since the Affordable Care Act became law, millions of Americans gained coverage or found more affordable options thanks to premium tax credits available through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released data showing that 153,000 Florida residents who currently purchase off-Marketplace individual market coverage may qualify for tax credits if they shop for 2017 coverage through the Marketplace.  Nationally, the report finds that 2.5 million Americans who currently purchase off-Marketplace individual market coverage may qualify for tax credits.

“More than 9 million Americans already receive financial assistance through the Health Insurance Marketplace to help keep coverage affordable, but today’s data show millions more Americans could benefit,” said Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “We encourage everyone to check out their options on or their state Marketplace and see if they qualify for financial assistance. Marketplace consumers who qualify for financial assistance usually have the option to buy coverage with a premium of less than $75 per month.”

Today’s analysis estimates that a-bout 6.9 million individuals currently purchase health insurance in the off-Marketplace individual market. Of those, about 1.9 million either have incomes that would qualify them for Medicaid or place them in the Medicaid coverage gap or are ineligible to purchase Marketplace coverage due to immigration status, while the remainder could enroll in Marketplace qualified health plans (QHPs).

Counting both Marketplace and off-Marketplace consumers, more than 70 percent of all QHP-eligible individuals currently insured through the individual market have incomes that could qualify them for tax credits. If the Marketplace-eligible uninsured are included as well, today’s analysis indicates that almost 80 percent of all Americans eligible for Marketplace coverage could qualify for tax credits based on their income.

Many consumers remain unaware of the financial assistance available to them through the Marketplace. For example, a recent Commonwealth Fund survey found that only 52 percent of uninsured adults were aware that financial assistance is available through the Marketplaces.

Tax credits available through the Marketplace are designed to both improve affordability and protect consumers from the impact of rate increases.  Consumers may be eligible if their incomes are between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level (about $100,000 for a family of four). If all premiums in an area go up, the large majority of Marketplace consumers will not have to pay more because tax credits will increase in parallel. A recent HHS analysis  found that, in a hypothetical scenario where all 2017 rates increased by 25 percent, 73 percent of current Marketplace consumers would be able to purchase coverage for less than $75 per month thanks to tax credits.

During the upcoming Open Enrollment, HHS will be placing new emphasis on making sure people currently buying individual market coverage off-Marketplace know their options. For example:

  • For the first time, our decisions about where to target our outreach efforts – from regional TV and radio to search and digital marketing – will be based in part on where we can reach these consumers, supplementing our continued use of data to target the remaining uninsured.
  • We are strengthening our relationships with agents and brokers. Agents and brokers are a critical channel for reaching off-Marketplace consumers, who often purchase coverage with the help of an agent or broker. Changes this year, such as offering agents and brokers new Marketplace training tools and faster registration, will make it easier for agents and brokers to enroll people in Marketplace plans.  Improvements to agent and broker education and resources will ensure that they and their customers know all their options.
  • We are working with issuers to provide consumers with more and better information about the Marketplace.  This includes updating standard notices to make them shorter, simpler, and more user friendly.
  • We are making it easier for issuers to facilitate transitions from a parents’ plan into the Marketplace. Specifically, recent guidance from the Department of Labor makes clear that the sponsors of employer plans can – and are encouraged to – provide additional information that will help young adults understand their options and enroll in Marketplace coverage as appropriate.

Opposition to Amwndment 2

Editorial: Nancy was right: Just say no  The Ledger, September 18, 2016   “How will making marijuana more prevalent keep it out of the hands of children who are not patients?

Pollara oddly sought to reassure us by suggesting students already know how to obtain pot. He also noted that in Colorado, where recreational use is legal, teen usage has not changed. Additionally, he maintained that there has never been a documented death from a marijuanarelated overdose.”   “That may be, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that 60,000 children nationwide are hospitalized each year for drug overdoses related to pilfering an adult’s prescribed medication. How can we know pot, when in a form resembling other medicines, will be adequately safeguarded?”   A September 18, 2016, Orlando Sentinel article by Gray Rohrer reported:

[Orange County Sheriff and Florida Sheriff’s Association President Jerry] “Demings said he thinks Amendment 2 would increase illicit use of marijuana, which he deems a “gateway” to harder drugs.

“Our top priority is the safety of our citizens and communities,” said [Florida Police Chiefs Association] FPCA executive director Amy Mercer. “We are concerned that without clear guidelines for enforcement or even appropriate regulation, this amendment may create more problems than it intends to alleviate.”

“Though it’s being billed as about medical, we know it’s about recreation,” Demings said. “It’s the wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

Polk County Sheriff and past Florida Sheriffs Association president Grady Judd The Ledger, August 24, 2016   “At the end of the day, smoked marijuana is not medicine,” he said. “That’s my clear message.”

“Repeating the arguments he made in 2014, Judd said he considers the proposal a first step toward allowing unconditional use of marijuana. Despite changes in the wording of the measure, he said it still contains loopholes that could easily be exploited. Judd also pointed to a law passed in this year’s legislative session as a reason Amendment 2 isn’t needed. The law allows terminally ill patients in their final days to use marijuana for palliative care. Another law passed in 2014 allows Floridians with severe epilepsy or cancer to use an oil derived from marijuana plants bred to be low in THC, the compound that causes psychological effects.’”   “The Florida Legislature heard the people of the state of Florida in the last election … and the Legislature went out and passed a medical marijuana law,” Judd said. “If you need marijuana for a medical purpose in Florida today, you can get it.’”   Viewpoint: Oppose Amendment 2 Florida Chamber of Commerce President Mark Wilson, Pensacola News Journal, August 7, 2016

“The Marijuana Policy Project — a lobbying group for full marijuana legalization — is trying to alleviate our concern by downplaying the number of pot shops Florida can expect to have. Why? Because they know Floridians will be justifiably concerned about the ramifications of our state being flooded with so-called medical marijuana treatment centers that look more like bong shops than legitimate pharmacies. Just Google “medical marijuana treatment centers California” to see what’s waiting for Florida, it’s not a pretty picture and it’s one reason we can’t support Amendment 2.”

Florida Medical Association to oppose Amendment 2 Frank Torres, Orlando Political Observer, August 2, 2016

“The Florida Medical Association, representing more than 20,000 physicians in our state, once again passed a resolution in opposition to the so-called ‘medical’ marijuana measure,” said FMA CEO Tim Stapleton. “There is nothing medical about this proposal, and the lack of scientific evidence that pot is helpful in treating medical conditions is far from inclusive.”

SWFL doctors say no to medical marijuana (VIDEO) Graham Hunter, NBC 2 – Ft. Myers, August 24, 2016   “‘As a physician, I don’t want medical marijuana to be the lead-in to a legalization of marijuana,’ he said. He worries medical marijuana will make it easier for kids to get pot, and also that Florida will see a repeat of pill mills. ‘The potential is there for the same thing to happen with pot mills,’ [Dr. Jonathan] Daitch said.”

Obama Administrations Rejects Attempt To Loosen Federal Restrictions On Marijuana Carrie Johnson, NPR, August 10, 2016— “The Obama administration has denied a bid by two Democratic governors to reconsider how it treats marijuana under federal drug control laws, keeping the drug for now, at least, in the most restrictive category for U.S. law enforcement purposes.”   “Drug Enforcement Administration chief Chuck Rosenberg says the decision is rooted in science. Rosenberg gave “enormous weight” to conclusions by the Food and Drug Administration that marijuana has “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,” and by some measures, it remains highly vulnerable to abuse as the most commonly used illicit drug across the nation.”   “This decision isn’t based on danger. This decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine,” he said, “and it’s not.”

The VOTE NO on 2 Campaign’s sole purpose is to expose the Amendment 2 scam.  For more information on the VOTE NO on 2 Campaign, please visit    Paid political advertisement paid for by Drug Free Florida Committee, 115 East Park Avenue, Suite 1, Tallahassee, Florida 32301, 850.339.5773


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    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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