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Will the Floridians who've enrolled in Obamacare please stand up?

@patriciaborns and @dchangmiami  The Miami Herald has been searching high and low for individuals who completed enrollment for a subsidized health plan through healthcare.gov, the online marketplace,launched by the federal government on Oct. 1 in 36 states, including Florida.

A keystone of the federal healthcare reform law known as the Affordable Care Act, the marketplace is intended to provide affordable, comprehensive health insurance for the millions of Americans who do not have coverage.

While readers have shared plenty of misses due to technical problems that have plagued the site since its launch, only a smattering of success stories had emerged in news reports. 

Insurance companies we called said they had enrolled people in subsidized health plans, but would not give specifics. Federal officials said that Americans have enrolled through the exchange, but have declined to reveal how many. When Politico.com, an online news outlet, reported that Chad Henderson, a 21-year-old Georgia resident, had enrolled successfully, Henderson became a cause célèbre, with national media and even the White House touting his story.

Last week, the Orlando Sentinel reported the story of one man in Florida who succeeded in buying a plan — after starting at 6 a.m. on the day the exchange launched.

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Daniel McNaughton, a 22-year-old computer science student at Valencia College in Orlando, told reporters he purchased a Florida Blue plan that will cost him $70 a month after the federal subsidy.

McNaughton's case was as rare as a unicorn sighting until Florida CHAIN, a statewide consumer health advocacy group, pointed the Herald to Vincent Mutia, a 24-year-old political science student at the University of Central Florida.

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Mutia tried on day one to enroll on health.care gov but ran into the same website issues that most people using the federally-run marketplace have encountered.

But "In the last few days, the experience became more fluid. I was able to put in all my information. After the security questions, I created an account," Mutia said. He  advanced to the application stage, answering questions about his work and income, and whether or not he's a smoker. Then -- eureka -- "It showed me a bunch of plans.

Mutia said he spent two days looking at Silver plans that provide 70 percent of the cost sharing, following the links to the insurance company websites for the plans' details. Because of a preexisting condition, he also made sure the plan included his doctor. He chose a Humana plan and a dental care option that together came to $210.56/month with the tax credit he qualified for.

Enrollment in the exchange lasts until March 31, though people must pick a plan by Dec. 15 to have coverage begin on Jan. 1. Read more.

 

Comments

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don west

I am 51 and I enrolled in a Blue Cross plan with a $200 deductible and $800 annual out of pocket maximum on the federal exchange healthcare.gov (with a lot of effort). It will cover all essential health benefits, as the law requires. My premium will be $55 with a federal supplement.

Patricia Borns

Wow, congrats. We've just now managed to create an account that we can't log back into. Please e-mail us at HeraldHealth@miamiherald.com if you'd like to share some details - we'd like to post what people are finding as more are able to enroll.

Robert Harper

I am 33 and enrolled this past Friday (Nov. 8). I also have a $200 deductible with $800 out of pocket maximum. My monthly premium is about $45/month. It certainly took some creative tactics, though, to get enrolled.

Patricia Borns

Congrats, Robert, sounds like a great plan. We're interested in learning how people are getting through and what they're choosing. Please get in touch with us at IHeraldHealth@miamiherald.com if you'd like to share.

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