Healthcare
8:53 am
Mon December 23, 2013

As Obamacare Deadline Looms, It's Clear Who In Florida Is Uninsured

UPDATE: 3 p.m., Dec. 23: The sign-up deadline for Obamacare, with health insurance effective Jan. 1, has been extended until Dec. 24.  

  For Floridians living without health insurance -- but eligible for Obamacare -- an important deadline is looming Monday, Dec. 23.

It's the last day that they can choose a policy through one of the new federal insurance exchanges if they want their health coverage to kick in on Jan. 1. Meanwhile, the picture on who Florida's uninsured residents are and where they are is becoming clearer.

The New York Times recently published a web-based map of the United States showing where the nation's uninsured live, based on Census data.

At first glance, the Sunshine State doesn't look too bad. Out of Florida's 67 counties, only Hardee, Glades, Liberty and Hendry seem to have a heavy concentration of uninsured residents. Zoom in, however, and you'll see pockets of South Florida where the rate of the uninsured runs as high as 60 percent.

Annie Neasman, President and CEO of the Jessie Trice Community Health Center, a Miami-Dade non-profit that helps people gain access to healthcare, says many of the county's uninsured are people who work for small businesses.

"They're also individuals that are just above the poverty level. They're making too much for Medicaid but not enough to buy insurance out of the private market," says Neasman.

According to Census figures, Florida has the second-largest uninsured population in the country, with nearly 4 million people younger than age 65 lacking health coverage.

Dadeland Mall's Microsoft store is offering help with health-insurance enrollment. For information, go to MiamiHerald.com.