ORLANDO, Fla. - Hundreds of thousands of low-income Floridians are finding out they still can't get health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act because Florida lawmakers refused to expand Medicaid, even though the federal government would have funded 90 percent of the expansion costs.
The Affordable Care Act was created to help low-income people get health insurance, but
ironically many are finding out they make too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to qualify for subsidies to cover the cost of the often expensive marketplace plans, according to Channel 9's Lori Brown.
Tracy Vihrachoff is one of 764,000 Floridians who is falling through the cracks of the Affordable Care Act.
"I really thought I'd be able to get insurance to help me catch up on things I need, physicals and things like that," she said.
Vihrachoff and her ill husband only earn $19,000 a year, and they use all of that money to provide for their
8 and 10-year-old children.
But $19,000 for a family of four is too much for Vihrachoff to qualify for Medicaid in Florida and too little to qualify for any discounts in the Affordable Care Act's insurance market place.
That's because under the Affordable Care Act, Vihrachoff makes so little she should qualify for Medicaid and she would if she lived in a state that expanded it.
"It's frustrating for me, because I'm able to help people who make
money and I can't help those who don't," said Cathy Bateham, of Insurance Solutions.
Bateham said the hardest hit are the working poor.
"I've seen this with self-employed people mostly," she said. "Because most self-employed put their money back into their business and take very little in salary."
Vihrachoff is now paying $139 a month for insurance, which still leaves her with a $10,000 deductable.
Florida a family of four that earns more than $8,200 but less than $23,500 will not receive any assistance getting health insurance, according to Brown.