Florida Health Insurance: Finding the Sunny Side
How hard is it to find quality, affordable Florida health insurance? The answer might surprise you. According to the 2009 State Scorecard on Health System Performance put out by the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System, a study that evaluates each state’s health care system based on access, prevention and treatment, avoidable hospital use and costs, equity, and healthy lives, Florida ranked near the bottom of the class, coming in 44th out of 51 when compared to rest of the United States and the District of Columbia. While that’s an improvement over the 45th place ranking Florida earned in the 2007 study, the truth of the matter is that health insurance isn’t one of the Sunshine State’s strong points, making it all the more important that you know what you’re getting into before you start shopping around for a Florida health insurance quote.
Florida Health Insurance Costs
Unfortunately, things don’t get much sunnier when you look at the average cost of a Florida health insurance quote. According to studies done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Floridians spend $200 more per capita on health expenses each year than the rest of the U.S. ($5,483 compared to $5,283), shell out around $200 more per year for single payer group health care insurance ($1,065 compared to $882), and pay over $1,000 more out-of-pocket for a group based family health care plan than the rest of the country ($4,412 compared to $3,394). Add to that the fact that independent market health care plans in Florida average $2,949 for individuals and $4,282 for families, according to the 2007 Health Insurance: Overview and Economic Impact in the States study by the AHIP, and it’s easy to see why Floridians across the board are looking for ways to cut their health insurance costs.
Understanding the State of Florida Health Insurance
What’s behind Florida’s less than admirable health insurance reports? The honest answer is not much — regulation that is. While state sponsored programs like Florida Kid Care and Florida Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders (SHINE) have made an impact on the uninsured and underinsured rates among certain target populations, Florida has done little in regards to regulating health insurance in Florida as a whole. With an absence of state-specific insurance codes for either managed health care or independent market health insurance, health insurance companies in Florida have enjoyed relatively free reign in setting the terms under which they issue, administer, price, and maintain health insurance in the Sunshine State.
Making the System Work for You: How to Find a Reasonable Florida Health Insurance Quote
All that being the case, the trick to health insurance in Florida is knowing how to make the system work for you. That means understanding federal health insurance laws, utilizing any and all state resources in Florida that you might qualify for, and, most importantly, knowing how to shop for health insurance in the Sunshine State. Here are a few tips from those who know:
- Know Your Rights —While the state of Florida doesn’t provide you with a lot to work with, the Federal government does. Federal mandates such as HIPPA and COBRA set guidelines that might help your health insurance search if you fit the right criteria, such as guaranteed issue insurance for small businesses seeking group health insurance coverage, policy extensions if you’ve lost group health care coverage due to events beyond your control, and conversion policies available for those who have had group health care for more than 3 months, just to name a few.
- Utilize State Resources —In addition to the state subsidized Florida Kid Care and SHINE programs mentioned above, the Florida Department of Health, the Cover Florida Health Care Program, the Office of Insurance Regulation, and the Florida Department of Financial Services are all excellent resources for consumers looking for answers and solutions to their to health care questions and needs.
- Shop Around for a Florida Health Insurance Quote —Sometimes the simplest solution is the easiest one. Across the board, from the Wall Street Journal’s SmartMoney.com to Forbes Magazine, those in the know are in agreement that the best way to cut your health insurance costs is to cast a wide net when you’re searching for health insurance in the first place. Free online quote referral services like NetQuote.com can provide you with a number of quotes from insurance providers at the click of a mouse, making it possible for you to compare a host of rates and health care insurance plans from different providers as you look for the best possible value for your health insurance dollar.
The state of health insurance in the state of Florida might not be ideal, but that doesn’t mean that you have to settle for less when it comes to securing quality, affordable health care for you and your loved ones.