NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 22, 2008

Some uninsured Florida residents (currently about 3.8 million) may get easier access to health care coverage under legislation signed Wednesday by Gov. Charlie Crist.

The new law lets insurance companies offer scaled-back health plans without all the usually required coverages.  That might make insurance available to some people for as little as $150 a month, Crist said.

Under the law:

  • Some insurance companies will join a state program in which they are required to cover many basic health care needs, such as drugs, emergency care and hospitalization, but won't be required to pay for many treatments that insurers generally must cover.
  • Among those might be mandated coverages like certain screenings, or coverage of certain transplants; insurers said those requirements contribute to rising health care costs.

"It is not the Cadillac of health plans, but it offers something very, very important for the citizens of our state," the governor said. 

  • The state program, known as "Cover Florida," will be open to uninsured people ages 19-64.
  • Children and the elderly wouldn't need it since they're generally eligible for other government programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and the state's KidCare subsidized insurance program.
  • To participate, someone has to have been uninsured for six months.

The new law will also allow insurers who don't participate in the state "Cover Florida" program to also make changes that may let them provide cheaper policies.  Under that part of the law, organizations and insurance companies would be allowed to offer scaled-back plans that have even fewer requirements than the ones participating in the state program.

Source: David Royse, "Fla. gov signs health insurance bill," Associated Press/Forbes, May 21, 2008.


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