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Enrollment in Federal Marketplace Plans is Down, but Premium Tax Credits Could Act as an Incentive Before Saturday's Deadline

But more than half a million Floridians could be eligible for tax credits that would cover the cost of one of the insurance plans. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Signups for health insurance through the federal marketplaces are down as the open enrollment period comes to an end. But more than half a million Floridians could be eligible for tax credits that would cover the cost of one of the insurance plans.

Insurance companies in Florida raised the price of plans after Congress stopped subsidizing some cost-sharing plans available through the Affordable Care Act. But Kaiser Family Foundation’s Cynthia Cox says the higher costs of these plans means more than 620,000 people in the state could qualify for higher premium tax credits. And that would completely cover the cost of bronze plans, which have cheaper premiums but higher deductibles compared to silver plans. Cox says without tax credits, some families can’t afford health insurance.

"These are people who are buying their own insurance because they don't get coverage through work. But they make too much money to qualify for financial assistance. Those people certainly face substantial financial barriers when it comes to buying or maintaining their insurance coverage."

But Cox says a lack of good information about these plans could be contributing to low enrollment in these plans.

"It's looking like not as many people are signing up. And this is not a good sign for people who are uninsured and are needing to get coverage. It's also not a good sign for the stability of the market."

The drawback to these bronze plans are high deductibles compared to silver plans. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, fewer people have signed up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov compared with the same time last year. The deadline to enroll is this Saturday.
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Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan and is a graduate of both the University of Michigan and Northwestern University. In her free time, she enjoys playing her guitar, writing fiction, and cooking.