Last August, Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced that nine health insurers submitted insurance coverage plans to provide healthcare insurance under the Cover Florida plan. The names of participating insurers were to be announced in early October, but have now been delayed due to scheduling conflicts during negotiations.
Cover Florida will cost participants $150 or less a month in premiums and is aimed at covering the millions of Floridians who have been without healthcare insurance for at least six months and are between the ages of 19 and 64. The low premiums are made possible because Cover Florida provides limited coverage and exempts participating insurers from the more than 50 state-mandated benefits. Insurers involved in the competitive bidding process had to submit at least two plans, one with catastrophic and hospital coverage and one with non-catastrophic healthcare coverage. Plans must include, at a minimum, coverage for preventive services, screenings, office visits, outpatient and inpatient surgery, urgent care, prescription drugs, durable medical equipment, and diabetic supplies. Although Cover Florida offers no state subsidies to participating insurers and does not mandate coverage for all Floridians, it does contain a guarantee issue requirement – where the insurer cannot turn an applicant away. At least one statewide plan is expected to be selected, along with additional regional plans to provide broader coverage options to participants.
According to media sources, representatives from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration have stated that coverage will be made available by January 1, 2009.