By Tony Jenkins
With news of health insurance carriers pulling out of the market in several states, the situation in Florida is more positive.
One of the carriers that has been in the local market a long time indicated it is staying. In a statement last week, Florida Blue made known its intention to remain in Florida’s health insurance marketplace in 2018.
Tony Jenkins, marketing president for Florida Blue’s Central Florida Region said, “People have heard that some of the major insurers are pulling out, and we wanted to make sure that we were upfront to say that our intention is to stay in every county.”
However, Jenkins did not give any indication if the carrier would be increasing the premium rates of policies it sells under the Obamacare program.
Along with the criticisms by opponents of Obamacare that health-insurance carriers are pulling out of the Obamacare marketplace, is that policy premium rates sold under the program have been increasing. Some reports show premiums have increase varying from as low as 9 percent and as high as 27 percent. Jenkins said he couldn’t disclose the 2018 rates until they are submitted to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation later this month.
Following this submission, the rates will be publicized.
He, however, implied that if the subsidies that have been offered to Obamacare customers remain, rates of the premiums related to policies sold by Florida Blue should be affordable.
“If subsidies are not approved, our rates will be 20 percent higher than what we’ll submit to the Office of Insurance Regulations,” he said.
A recent bill passed in the US House of Representatives to replace Obamacare with the America Healthcare Act, proposes removing the federal subsidies. These subsidies have enabled thousands of lower-income residents in Florida and other states to purchase health insurance at lower, affordable rates.
In the Obamacare marketplace since 2014, Florida Blue has sold policies to one million residents in four South Florida counties, and the state’s other 63 counties. According to the company, more than 70 percent of its Obamacare policy holders are recipients of federal subsidies offered by the federal program.
Along with Florida Blue, there are four other health carriers selling Obamacare health insurance in Florida. This is down from eight companies in 2014.