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For Florida residents hoping to purchase coverage through the new health insurance exchange, the state Office of Insurance Regulation has recently released information that your options will largely depend on where you reside.
As of August 2013, 10 insurance companies have received federal approval to sell Floridians health plans on the federally assisted health exchange, which rolls out Oct. 1. However, Kevin McCarty, Florida’s Insurance Commissioner, has said that not all companies will sell plans in all counties.
More than half of Florida’s counties will have only one or two insurance companies selling plans through the new marketplace and no county will offer plans from all 10 companies, according to the insurance commissioner’s office. The companies that will be actively selling within the Florida Exchange are:
South Floridians will have the most choice, while residents in rural areas have the least. Broward and Miami-Dade counties will sell plans from nine federally approved insurers. In Central Florida, residents of Orange, Osceola and Lake counties will have options from five insurance companies, while Seminole and Volusia will have six. Population density and an insurer’s current presence in an area will determine if the carrier has choose to sell in your area.
Although the Florida insurance commissioner knows which 10 companies have been approved to sell plans in Florida, they would not disclose which companies would sell in each county yet.
A spokesman for Blue Cross Blue Shield made no secret they would be selling plans in all 67 Florida counties, making it the only insurer to do so. Blue Cross Blue Shield will in fact be the sole seller for exchange plans in 21 Florida counties.
Insurers can offer a tiered set of plans, ranging from bronze (a leaner choice) to platinum (with the most benefits). Still forthcoming, however, are details about what the individual plans will offer and what each will cost.
Florida residents should begin now to familiarize themselves with the exchange, explore the varied levels of coverage available and understand the possible tax credits available since open enrollment for the Exchange is scheduled to begin October 1st for a January 1, 2014 effective date.
To qualify for tax credits available under the health-care overhaul, residents must get their insurance on the government exchange (healthcare.gov).