Florida

The Rate Review database at Healthcare.Gov is a very useful tool for any insurance company requesting rate increases above 10%, but it's completely useless for requests below 10%. As such, I have hard data on the requested increases for about 600,000 Florida residents:

If Florida's entire ACA-compliant individual market was only 600K people, that would be the end of the story.

However, Florida actually has 16 different insurance companies selling individual policies...and the other 9 are all asking for lower than 10% hikes. After poking around the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation website as well as contacting the department directly, I've been able to pull together covered lives data for all 16, and requested rate change data for 3 more of them...2 of which are actually requesting rate decreases. When I add those 3 companies into the mix, the picture changes like so:

Of the 6.5 million people who would lose their federal tax credits, and almost certainly their healthcare coverage (completely apart from the additional 6.5 million who would have an economic boulder dropped on them indirectly) in the event of a King v. Burwell plaintiff win, over 1/3 live in just two states: Florida and Texas. 1.34 million Floridians and 846,000 Texans would be be among the direct casualties...close to 2.2 million between the two of them.

Given that both are completely run by off-the-rails batcrap-insane Republicans in the House, Senate and Governor's office, it's safe to say that you can expect a LOT of stories like the following from the Sunshine and Lone Star states.

Ho. Lee. Crap.

Check out this press release from Florida Governor and Lord Voldemort impersonator Rick Scott:

Gov. Scott: We Will Begin Working Immediately on a Budget to Continue Critical Programs & Start Conversation on Healthcare Access and Cost

On April 30, 2015, in News Releases, by Currie Dickerson

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott released the following statement today upon the adjournment of the Florida Senate upon the call of the President, and after the Tuesday adjournment of the Florida House:

“Now that the Florida Senate and House have adjourned, we must immediately turn our focus to how we can work together to craft a state budget before July 1st that continues funding for critical state services. There were no discussions about Medicaid expansion under Obamacare before the legislative session began. Today, it is clear that a thorough analysis of how healthcare can be reformed to improve cost, quality and access is needed, apart from the budget process.

bla bla bla...

Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced Thursday that his administration will file a lawsuit against the federal government for threatening to withhold more than $1 billion in funding for hospitals if the state fails to expand Medicaid.

“It is appalling that President Obama would cut off federal health care dollars to Florida in an effort to force our state further into Obamacare,” Scott said, citing a 2012 Supreme Court ruling that said the federal government couldn’t put a “gun to the head” of states to force them to expand Medicaid under the health care law.

The Obama administration quickly accused Scott of misconstruing that court decision because the state is not being forced to do anything. And White House spokesman Josh Earnest blasted the governor for putting politics above people.

I have a ton of ACA-related stories cluttering up my in-box again; here's some of the more interesting ones, all regarding ACA Medicaid Expansion:

MICHIGAN:

For months now, I've been a bit obsessed with figuring out how my home state's Medicaid expansion enrollment has managed to reach as high as 21% more people than were supposedly even eligible for the program. Estimates last year ranged from 477,000 - 500,000, yet enrollment in Healthy Michigan (Gov. Snyder's name for Obamacare Medicaid Expansion) currently sits at a whopping 579K, less than 1 year into the program.

Remember "Florida Health Choices", the brainchild of Republican Senator Marco Rubio which was supposed to be the Florida GOP's response to the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges?

The Florida Republican Party flushed $900,000 in startup funds into a website/"exchange" which signed up a whopping 30 paying customers in 6 months, at a cost of $30,000 apiece...or between 46x - 81x as much per enrollee as the "wasteful" HealthCare.Gov.

Of course, it didn't help that "Florida Health Choices" didn't actually sell, you know, "health insurance" but was basically hawking discount coupons for dental checkups and the like.

Remember all last summer and into the fall when I kept pointing out to anyone who would listen that just because the official Open Enrollment period had ended back on March 30th (or April 15th, depending on your POV), there were still a good 9,000+ people per day enrolling via the ACA exchanges due to major life changes?

Of course, those people being added were also being cancelled out to some degree by people dropping their policies (or being dropped whether they liked it or not due to non-payment or immigration/residency issues). From what I could tell, the additions seemed to be outnumbering the subtractions for most of the summer, up until around August, at which point the trend reversed. However, it was difficult to know this for certain until the CMS head unexpectedly mentioned that 7.3 million people were still enrolled as of mid-August (going up!), followed by a drop to 7.1 million as of mid-October (going down!).

A week ago, I reported an update regarding the "Florida Health Choices" website, spearheaded by Florida GOP Senator Marco Rubio, which is a taxpayer-funded healthcare exchange to sell private insurance policies to Florida residents:

TALLAHASSEE — Last year, legislators allocated $900,000 to help Floridians find affordable health care through a new state-backed website.

At the same time, they refused to expand Medicaid or work with the federal government to offer subsidized insurance plans.

You know...Obamacare, without the "Obama" part.

It also doesn't offer any tax credits to make healthcare policies, you know, affordable.

Then again, that's kind of a moot point, since it doesn't actually even offer healthcare policies anyway--just "discount cards" for dental visits, prescriptions and prescription eyeglasses.

So...you know, it's basically a coupon store.

Oh, yeah...and even some of those coupons are kind of a scam:

Marco Rubio

OK, Sherman, let's fire up the Wayback Machine and revisit August 29th, 2014, shall we?

TALLAHASSEE — Last year, legislators allocated $900,000 to help Floridians find affordable health care through a new state-backed website.

At the same time, they refused to expand Medicaid or work with the federal government to offer subsidized insurance plans.

Six months after the launch of the state's effort, called Florida Health Choices (floridahealthchoices.net), just 30 people have signed up. Another seven plans were canceled either because consumers changed their minds or didn't pay for services.

As I noted at the time:

Last week, I posted a major entry in which I painstakingly pieced together the current QHP enrollment data from 16 states in an attempt to extrapolate what the current national enrollment figure stood at as of October. Since last spring, the only data point that HHS had given out was that 7.3 million were enrolled as of August 15th; I was trying to calculate how many were still enrolled 2 months later, after adding "special life event" enrollments and subtracting people who dropped their policies for other assorted reasons.

In addition, there was the question how much the "3 month grace period", "citizenship/immigration data" and the "income data discrepancy" issues would contribute to the attrition rate, as people were dropped due to failure to continue payments or for not being legally eligible for the policies.

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