June 4, 2018

A Disturbing Trend- Uninsured Rates Rising in Florida and Nationally

This post was last updated on December 8, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Two new studies show an alarming uptick in uninsured rates.

Telephone interviews conducted by Gallup from January to December 2017 asked working aged adults the question, “Do you have health insurance coverage?” Data from those interviews show that in 2017, uninsured rates rose in 17 states, including Florida. Florida’s rate jumped to 16 percent– up from 14.6 percent in 2016.

More recent telephone interviews conducted through the Commonwealth Fund Affordable Care Tracking Survey, from February to March 2018, show that 4 million adults nationwide lost coverage in 2016. The uninsured rate among lower income adults rose from 20.9 to 25.7 percent in March 2018. Uninsured rates in the South were significantly higher than in the rest of the country.

Both studies find that these trends are likely linked to federal legislative and administrative efforts to weaken the Affordable Care Act (ACA), actions which are leaving consumers confused and uncertain about the ACA’s future.

Between 2013 —  a year before the ACA took effect — and 2016, the number of uninsured has dropped steadily in Florida, from 20 to 12.5 percent. It’s extremely disheartening to see a reversal of this progress.

Taking this step backward translates to greater delays in treatment, increased emergency care, higher rates of premature death and more uncompensated care.

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