Amidst ongoing controversy surrounding the federal health care laws, Florida has opted to take its own approach on a mandated insurance marketplace. The law requires that all states have a working health insurance exchange in place by 2014. The exchanges are meant to be an online insurance marketplace where consumers can find affordable policies. Florida stood in opposition for the federal health care law since it was passed in 2010, and state legislators have expressed their discontent for the exchange initiative in the past. Now, the state is attempting to build a program that will be independent from the federal law.
Florida’s insurance marketplace is being built to cater to small businesses more than individuals and families. The reason for this is to encourage employers to continue offering health care benefits despite the rising cost of such policies. The program will be comprised of both public and private insurance companies that will receive support from the state Legislature. Florida is only the third state to build an independent insurance marketplace.
Florida’s program will only be open to small employers, which is likely to run afoul of new federal regulations that are putting more emphasis on consumer satisfaction. Furthermore, state insurance regulators will be imposing a number of fines on policies sold through the independent exchange as a way of ensuring its financial longevity. These fines will add to the overall price of insurance, making policies written in the state more expensive than those written elsewhere.
The federal government is not likely to accommodate Florida’s exchange program in lieu of their own and the state is still tasked with building a program that aligns with the governments regulations.