Burwell, Obama Admin Still Signing Up For ACA Despite Uncertainty

Health and Human Services, Secretary Sylvia Burwell talks early enrollment in Florida

My special guest on this edition of The Politically Incorrect Podcast is the outgoing head of the department of Health and Human Serves, Secretary Sylvia Burwell. She is well aware that when Donald Trump is sworn in as President the ACA or at least parts of will be repealed and replaced.

Right now the ACA is the law and until there is something to replace it many Floridians will be shopping for the best plans they can get.

Despite the laws uncertain future Sec. Burwell is in the middle of the open enrollment and her goal is to have 13.8 million people signed up by the January 31st deadline. That would be about a million more people than last year joining the exchanges with many of those living in Florida.

We spoke about the election of Donald Trump as president and how it effected the enrollment process. Sec. Burwell told me that a single day record of more than 100,000 people selected health care plans Wednesday, the morning after the election on Healthcare.gov.

That is the site where most Americans who don’t get insurance from an employer can sign up for tax-subsidized coverage.

Sec. Burwell also was encouraged by President Elect Trump’s willingness to keep some parts of the existing law. She also feels that once he goes over the ACA there are likely a few more things the new president might wish to keep.

We also talked about her time at H.H.S. and some of the things she was able to accomplish.

Here are a few fast facts about Florida and open enrollment that Sec. Burwell shared in the podcast and there are more – all you have to do is listen. These are the high lights:

90 percent of consumers in Florida qualify for financial assistance if they buy through the marketplace, which lowers their monthly premiums.

Florida consumers can now visit HealthCare.gov to check out their options for 2017 coverage. A new report released today shows that 80 percent of Florida Marketplace consumers will be able to find a plan with a premium of less than $75 per month, and 84 percent will be able to find plans with premiums below $100. The report also shows that Florida consumers who come back to shop will have options, with an average of 55 plans to choose from.


“Thanks to financial assistance, the large majority of current Marketplace consumers in Florida will be able to find plans with premiums between $50 and $100 per month,” said Sec. Burwell. “Many uninsured Floridians could also qualify for financial assistance, as could 153,000 Floridians currently paying full price for off-Marketplace coverage. I encourage anyone who might need 2017 coverage to visit HealthCare.gov and check out this year’s options for themselves.”

91 percent of current Florida Marketplace consumers are eligible for tax credits that bring down the cost of coverage, and, nationwide, about 85 percent of Marketplace-eligible uninsured Americans also qualify for tax credits. In addition, an estimated 153,000 Floridians currently paying full price for health insurance in the off-Marketplace individual market could be eligible for tax credits if they purchase 2017 coverage through the Marketplace.


Tax credits increase dollar for dollar with the cost of a consumer’s benchmark plan, and so they protect the large majority of consumers from rate increases. For example, a 27-year-old in Jacksonville, Florida with income of $25,000 paid $143 per month to purchase the benchmark (second-lowest cost silver) plan in 2016. For 2017, a 27-year-old with income of $25,000 will pay almost the exact same amount ($142 per month), because, while benchmark premiums have increased, tax credits will increase to compensate.

The facts above were provided by H.H.S. and for more information go to Healthcare.gov




Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.