Florida Health Choices website aimed at the uninsured draws little interest
From today's paper:
Last year, legislators allocated $900,000 to help Floridians find affordable health care through a new state-backed website.
At the same time, they refused to expand Medicaid or work with the federal government to offer subsidized insurance plans.
Six months after the launch of the state's effort, called Florida Health Choices, just 30 people have signed up. Another seven plans were canceled either because consumers changed their minds or didn't pay for services.
These numbers are dwarfed by the nearly 764,000 Floridians who are too poor to afford subsidized plans, yet can't qualify for Medicaid under Florida's stringent standards. They are supposed to be the target market for Health Choices.
But Health Choices doesn't sell comprehensive health insurance to protect consumers from big-ticket costs such as hospitalization. Instead, it has limited benefit options and discount plans for items like dental visits, prescription drugs and eyeglasses.
The plan's biggest backer in the Legislature blames the lack of business on the federal Affordable Care Act, which features comprehensive plans with varying subsidies for those who qualify.