GazetteXtra Print Article Logo URL: http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/florida-blue-pledges-statewide-commitment-to-affordable-care-act/2327295


Florida Blue pledges statewide commitment to Affordable Care Act

By Kathleen McGrory
Despite the uncertain fate of the Affordable Care Act, Florida Blue plans to offer individual health insurance plans in all 67 counties next year. [Florida Trend file photo]

Despite the uncertain fate of the Affordable Care Act, Florida Blue plans to offer individual health insurance plans in all 67 counties next year, the insurer told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday.

"It is consistent with our mission to help people in communities achieve better health," said the company's West Florida Region market president David Pizzo. "We don't stay only in certain counties that are profitable."

The non-profit Florida Blue was the only insurance carrier to offer marketplace plans in every county in 2017, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. All told, the plans covered nearly 1 million people.

Florida Blue has yet to file its rates for 2018 with state insurance regulators; the deadline isn't until later this month. The company is assuming the federal government will continue funding the cost-sharing reduction subsidies that help lower out-of-pocket costs. Without the subsidies, Pizzo said, Florida Blue would likely have to increase its rates at least 20 percent.

About 1.8 million Floridians signed up for individual plans in 2017, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The options have dwindled as some large insurers have scaled back their offerings or left the marketplace entirely.

Florida Blue has found the marketplace to be "profitable within the guidelines that the government gives us," Pizzo said, adding that the company kept an edge by not undercutting its competitors.

"As a Florida-based company, we made the decision early to be in all counties," he said. "And we stayed in 100 percent."

Contact Kathleen McGrory at [email protected] or (727) 893-8330. Follow @kmcgrory.