Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fla. insurance exchange for those in gap struggles to get going

TALLAHASSEE — With all the focus on the federal health insurance exchange, it's easy to forget that the state is attempting to create its own separate insurance marketplace.

But don't count on the yet-to-launch program just yet.

Florida Health Choices was conceived in 2008 with the idea of helping small-business owners, but the marketplace has been hit with several delays and may now change its focus altogether to serving the uninsured and underinsured.

Officials at the state-based exchange now hope to provide options for the roughly 1 million Floridians who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to receive subsidies to purchase insurance on the federal exchange — a gap in coverage created after the Florida Legislature said "no" to expanding Medicaid coverage.

"To be relevant, we have to look at how we can change in this changing environment to meet our mission," said Rose Naff, chief executive officer of Florida Health Choices. "It makes no sense to compete with the federal exchange."

Naff says the state exchange hopes to sell its first policies in early 2014.

But issues remain.

Insurers are so preoccupied with the rollout of the federal insurance law they have paid little attention to the state exchange.

Only one statewide health care company — Florida Blue — has expressed interest in offering policies on Florida Health Choices.

The state marketplace wants to offer relatively low-cost coverage, such as discounted dental and vision plans or a set number of chiropractic visits.

Sen. Aaron Bean, a Fernandina Beach Republican who served several years as the board chairman of the state exchange, said he just wants it to start already. The uninsured may be the perfect target group to make that happen.

"They're going to be hungry for an affordable policy, and that may be just the niche for Florida Health Choices to fill," Bean said.

Florida Health Choices

(850) 222-0933

Fla. insurance exchange for those in gap struggles to get going 09/28/13 [Last modified: Saturday, September 28, 2013 9:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. McConnell trying to revise the Senate health care bill by Friday


    WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is aiming to send a revised version of his health care bill to the Congressional Budget Office as soon as Friday as he continues to push for a vote before Congress' August recess.

    Protesters rally against the Senate Republican health care bill Wednesday on the east front of the Capitol building.
  2. Police raise likely death toll in London high-rise blaze


    LONDON — The number of people killed or presumed dead in the London high-rise fire has inched up to 80, but the final death toll may not be known for months, British police said at a grim briefing Wednesday.

  3. Rick Baker gives himself a "B" in 1st debate against Rick Kriseman


    Rick Baker gave himself a “B” in his first debate against Mayor Rick Kriseman.

    Rick Baker chats with supporters at a fundraiser at St. Petersburg Yacht Club Wednesday evening
  4. Companies, governments assess damage from latest malware attack


    PARIS — Companies and governments around the world on Wednesday counted the cost of a software epidemic that has disrupted ports, hospitals and banks. Ukraine, which was hardest hit and where the attack likely originated, said it had secured critical state assets — though everyday life remained affected, …

  5. Details of Trump's travel ban still being finalized


    WASHINGTON — Senior officials from the departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security labored Wednesday to finalize rules for visitors from six mostly Muslim nations who hope to avoid the Trump administration's revived travel ban and come to the United States.