A Senate Bill would hand this responsibility over to the feds, should it pass.
A Senate health committee in Florida has recommended that the state suspend the authority of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation to be able to set the health insurance rates for companies under the Affordable Care Act, in favor of giving that responsibility to the federal government.
The goal is to allow those setting rates to be able to keep up with the constant updates to the regulations.
Federal officials have been updating the rate setting regulations on a weekly basis, which has caused many of the lawmakers in Florida to decide that it may be better if the officials responsible for these changes were also those who would oversee the health insurance rate approval process for the next year to two years. This is especially true in case the state should face large increases to its rates.
The chairman of the committee said that it would be too hard for the state to keep up with the health insurance regulations.
Senator Joe Negron, the committee chair, stated that he believes that it would be very challenging for the Office of Regulation to be able to determine which health insurance rates are deemed reasonable under the new system, as there are a large number of uncertainties that remain.
The Florida agency would still keep its power to review the new policies that are submitted under the federal health insurance law, in order to make sure that they do, indeed, comply with the laws of the state, itself. Negron said that “We do have laws in Florida that we’ve enacted to protect consumers and I don’t think we should walk back from those.”
The Florida Senate committee also voted in favor of an extension of health insurance coverage so that it would apply to the part time employees within the state, as well. Their justification for this decision was that it would be considerably cheaper to pay the $137 million per year for this coverage than it would to pay the fine, which would be an estimated $318 million.