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State opens door for higher health insurance rates, requires disclosure of cost of reforms

The next front in the national battle over health care reform: your mailbox.

A little noticed law passed by state legislators this year deregulates any new health insurance policies for the next two years and requires insurers to send customers a disclosure form spelling out how much of the cost of the policy is attributable to the Affordable Care Act.  Download Consumer Notice(PDF)

Proponents say it is a necessary component of enacting the federal health care reform and will shift regulation of new health care policies to the federal government, including policies emerging from the federal health care exchange.

But opponents say the federal government doesn’t have the resources nor the ability to regulate insurance rates in Florida and, without those protections, rates could soar. If rates rise, they said, the disclosure form will mislead the public into concluding that the increased costs are all associated with the health care reform while any reductions in costs won’t be recorded. 

“The sole purpose for the form is to present unfair ‘apples and oranges’ comparisons to the public that will ensure sticker shock,” said Greg Mellowe, policy director of the health insurance advocacy group, Florida CHAIN.

In a letter urging Gov. Rick Scott to veto the proposal, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the state’s former insurance commmissioner, called the attempt at deregulating the health insurers “unbelieveable and unconscionable” and could result in rate increases of between 10 percent and 70 percent.  Download 05.22.13 Letter to Rick Scott re Raising Health Care Rates FL Sen. Bill 1842

But the governor and other advocates of the new law disagree.

“Rates for new plans will be reviewed by the same federal government that will be enforcing and updating the new rules and regulations throughout this very fluid and uncertain transition period,’’ the governor wrote when he signed SB 1862 into law on May 31. Read more here

 

Comments

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Anti-Tallahassee

Florida Blue, the old Blue Cross/Blue Shield, is the largest contributor to the Republican Party of Florida and its legislators and the Governor. So you can be sure if Tallahassee is doing anything in health care, it is going to benefit the insurance industry over anyone else. Premiums have been going up faster than any other products for decades, and the Tallahassee Republicans have NEVER done anything to help control costs or reduce premiums.

Rickscottstory Healthcare

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/content/ak-desai-new-top-money-man-fla-gop

"A.K. is a tireless advocate for Florida and for our Republican party," said Gov. Rick Scott. "RPOF will be well served by his dedication and experience."

"On behalf of all of Florida's Republicans, I am grateful that Dr. Desai has agreed to accept this crucial role," said RPOF's Chairman, Lenny Curry. "In this election year we need the resources for victory, and Dr. Desai's long history of work for the state and our party make him a proven leader. A.K and I are ready to roll up our sleeves and win."

Mesh Lawsuit

This is Good news. Thanks for informing us.

Pat Kelley

The states that have accepted The Affordable Healthcare Act will see their insurance rates drop and the average worker able to afford healthcare by this time next year. The Florida politicians will still be fighting it and Florida citizens will still be paying for decent healthcare in those states but not be able to afford it for themselves.

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