September 12, 2017

For Third Consecutive Year, Florida Sees Significant Decline in Uninsured Rate; Coverage Still Out of Reach for Many

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.

New 2016 data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that Florida’s share of uninsured residents decreased by 38 percent since 2013

Lake Mary, FL – The U.S. Census today released new state data on uninsured rates, with Florida’s share of residents without health insurance coverage continuing its yearly decline from 2013. In 2016, 12.5 percent of Floridians were uninsured, down from 13.3 in 2015. In 2013, 20 percent of residents were without health insurance, a year before the major coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, went into effect.

“We have the Affordable Care Act to thank, in large part, for the important gains in Florida’s rate of insured residents,” said Joseph F. Pennisi, executive director of the Florida Policy Institute (FPI). “This is all the more reason to continue improving on current law. Despite an encouraging stride, however, the work of making health coverage available for all Floridians is not yet complete. State policymakers should expand Medicaid, which would help more than 500,000 residents stuck in the coverage gap– folks whose income is too high to qualify for Medicaid, but too low to qualify for marketplace tax subsidies.”

Between 2015 and 2016 in Florida, the share of children with coverage increased from 92.6 to 93.4 percent. There are still 288,000 children who remain uninsured; this figure would more than double if the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is not renewed by the end of the month. It is critically important that children have access to quality and affordable health care under CHIP to grow up as healthy, productive adults.

“All of Florida is focused now on rebuilding in the devastating wake of Hurricane Irma,” added Pennisi. “Having health insurance coverage, especially in a state where a natural disaster can turn your world upside down, is absolutely essential.”

The Florida Policy Institute is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting widespread prosperity through timely, thoughtful and objective analysis of state policy issues affecting economic opportunity.

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