In Florida, the number of uninsured children has consistently remained higher than the national average. While the estimate of the overall number of uninsured children in Florida has gone down from 600,537 in 2009 to 436,166 in 2012, the state still ranked 49th in the number of uninsured children in each of those years. Between 2009 and 2013, Florida experienced rates of uninsured children ranging from 10%-14%.
Enacted long before the Affordable Care Act, Florida KidCare remains the most viable path to comprehensive coverage for children in low income Florida households. Up until the implementation of the ACA, the income ceiling for Medicaid eligibility for school-age children was 100% of the federal poverty level. The Affordable Care Act increased the income limit for Medicaid from 100% to 133% of the poverty level for these children. The initial impact of this provision was extremely significant, particularly during the open enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace (Oct. 2013 – March 2014). At the start of October 2013, there were 330,095 children enrolled in Florida KidCare. By the end of May, that total had risen to 423,726, a net increase of more than 93,000 children, mostly as a result of the creation of this new Medicaid eligibility category.
The US Supreme Court ultimately struck down the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that states expand Medicaid for adults but this smaller remained intact. As a direct result of the ACA provision, more of Florida’s children have access to quality and affordable health care.