Saturday, August 02, 2008

Cover Florida is unlikely to reduce
the ranks of uninsured

Cover Florida, the health-insurance policy touted by Gov. Charlie Crist as a way to reduce the state's 3.7 million uninsured, is unlikely to work.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a non-profit policy-research group in Washington, D.C., came to that conclusion after analyzing Florida's law which allows insurance companies to offer low-cost plans with limited benefits.

"Bare-bones" health plans have been tried before with limited success, the center said -- including in Florida. The state's 6-year-old "Health Flex" plan had fewer than 2,300 members as of December 2007, and virtually all them live in counties where they receive subsidies to help pay for it.

Cover Florida does not provides any subsidies to help low-income uninsured residents pay for health insurance.

"When low-income people do enroll in bare-bones plans, they face a significant risk of experiencing high out-of-pocket costs," the report says. "Bare-bones plans provide limited or no coverage for important benefits such as inpatient care, and they often have high deductibles or other cost-sharing charges."

The barest of Florida's bare-bones health-insurance plans are expected to cost about $150 a month. That will still be too high for those with low incomes, according to the center. "Because most uninsured people have low incomes, they need subsidies to help them afford coverage."

Read the report here.


At 5:08 PM, Blogger Alan said...

"Bare Bones" insurance policies are yet another way of legally fleecing those who have the wool to shear. I saw these policies in action in South Florida, and dealt with poor people surprise when they found their policies were only valid at one particular provider, or didn't cover things like pacemakers, or didn't provide hospital coverage that was needed.

These "Bare Bones" policies belong in the Florida Hall of Shame, along side the exploitive labor pools, the check cashers, and the payday loan sharks.


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