Starting October 1, ten insurance plans have been given the federal nod of approval to sell Florida’s health plans on the federally assisted health exchange. They are:
- Aetna Life Insurance Company
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida
- Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company
- Coventry Health Care of Florida, Inc.
- Florida Health Care Plan, Inc.
- Health First Health Plans
- Health First Insurance Company
- Health Options, Inc.
- Humana Medical Plan, Inc.
- Molina Healthcare Of Florida, Inc.
The thing is, these ten plans may not be available to YOU!
Kevin McCarty, the Insurance Commissioner of Florida points out that these companies will not sell plans in all counties of the state. More than 50% of Florida’s 67 counties will only have one or two insurance companies selling plans in the new marketplace and no county will provide all ten. A factor in determining the number of insurers in a specific location will be dependent on population density. Yet, despite opening now, McCarty says “The form and rate review process is ongoing.” Note that in order to receive tax credits for your healthcare, you must get your insurance from the government exchange. (healthcare.gov.)
South Floridians will have the largest selection to choose from. (rural areas will have the least) Miami-Dade and Broward counties will have access to 9 federally approved insurers and eight in Palm Beach county.
Blue Cross Blue Shield, Florida’s largest health insurer, is the only company that will sell medical plans in all 67 counties. Despite being the only seller in 21 counties, Blue Cross Blue Shield denies that fact will cause premiums to go higher. Vice president of consumer and exchange market for Florida Blue, Joe Gregor states: “We will be in all counties and offer a range of benefit plans from richer to leaner to give people a choice. We expect competition in every market and price for competition”. Further, he says “…this information is quite substantial and is new to all of us. What you thought you knew about insurance really changes completely beginning in 2014. Don’t be surprised if the landscape is compeltely different in 2015”.
Plans in the Marketplace
Tiered plans will be offered by insurers with each tier offering a certain set of benefits with the top one having the greatest number.
According to Greg Mellowe, the policy director of Florida CHAIN (a nonprofit organization formed to ensure all Floridians have healthcare coverage) the marketplace will provide health benefits to 25% of Floridians who can’t obtain medical insurance through work or Medicare. For these people, he suggests becoming familiar with the exchange and the different coverages offered as well as learning about possible tax credits to assist in insurance costs.
So, are you ready to do some healthcare shopping? Share your views in the comment box below.