Florida has 763,890 people in the “coverage gap” — uninsured residents who are not old enough for Medicare, who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but who make too little money to qualify for subsidized health insurance through the new federal Affordable Care Act, according to a new Kaiser study.
The study, released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation, offers a lower number than previously-used estimates from the Urban Institute, of 995,000 Floridians. Kaiser officials say they used slightly different methodology and updated data.
These are poor people. By definition, they make less than the federal poverty level, which is $11,490 for an individual and $23,550 for a family of four. They have no insurance, and have no government programs to help them afford any.
The Affordable Care Act was written with two parts: one that would provide subsidized care for previously-uninsured people making more than the poverty level, up to four times the poverty level. The other part expected people below the poverty level to move into an expanded Medicaid program, with the federal government providing the states with money to do so, at least in early years. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that every state had the right to decide on its own whether to expand its Medicaid program. Florida was one of 26 states that decided, last spring, not to do so.
Florida turned down $51 billion in federal money over ten years, though the state would have had to chip in $3.5 billion to fully fund the expansion.