GOVERNOR CRIST MEETS WITH HEALTH INSURERS INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN COVER FLORIDA PLAN
April 22, 2008
GOVERNOR’S PRESS OFFICE
TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist today met with representatives of Florida’s health insurance industry who have expressed interest in competing for the opportunity to provide affordable coverage for Florida’s 3.8 million uninsured individuals through the Governor’s Cover Florida plan. Governor Crist has proposed legislation that will allow the State of Florida to negotiate with health insurers to develop affordable health coverage for uninsured Floridians ages 19 to 64.
“The number of uninsured individuals in Florida is a tragedy we can avoid, and I applaud the health insurance companies here today for their willingness to step forward to meet the needs of the people of Florida,” Governor Crist said. “I look forward to seeing the affordable benefits packages that insurers will develop to help provide affordable, quality choices for the people of Florida.”
Private insurers have indicated that the Governor’s Cover Florida plan would allow them to create benefits packages for about $150 per month or less. Benefits would include office visits, office surgery, behavioral health services, diabetic supplies, durable medical equipment and prosthetics, inpatient hospital stays, outpatient facility services and hospital emergency care services. Insurers would also competitively bid to provide supplemental coverage for vision, dental, cancer and discount medical options.
Health insurers supporting the Cover Florida plan represent over 93 percent of Florida’s small group insurance market. Representatives from the health insurance industry joining Governor Crist today were Steve de Montmollin of AvMed Health Plan, Christopher Ciano of Vista Health Plan, Joyce Kramzer of Blue Cross Blue Shield, John Hogan of Capital Health Plan, Jay Kassack of Amerigroup, Bob Wychulis of the Florida Association of Health Plans, John Matthews of United Healthcare and Jimmy Card of Preferred Medical Plans. Aetna, which was unable to have a representative at the meeting, also expressed support for the plan.
Senate Bill 2534, sponsored by Senator Durell Peaden of Crestview, would allow the State of Florida to negotiate with health insurers to develop affordable health insurance coverage for uninsured Floridians. Benefits will include basic preventive, primary and urgent care, including prescription drugs and hospitalization. Additionally, employers would not be required to participate in order for their employees to benefit; however, employers will be encouraged to participate and are able to receive tax benefits when cost-sharing premiums with employees.
Under the plan, policyholders would be able to carry dependents until age 30. Parents typically cannot carry dependents after age 25. The age 19 to 30 population has the highest rate of uninsured individuals, yet are typically more healthy, and will improve the insurer’s risk profile.