The political and social environment in which we are living indicates a shifting focus on the health care landscape in our country. As new federal regulations may or may not begin to change the way we deliver services, employers, individuals and providers must navigate landscape to ensure that health insurance remains accessible and affordable.
Florida legislators foresaw that the ever-changing health care environment created a need for small employers to be able to offer health insurance options to their employees without the hassle of dealing with the “insurance buying process” or only providing a “one-size-fits-all” plan for their employees.
In May 2008, S.B. 2534 was signed into law, which created the Florida Health Choices Corporation. The Corporation was established with the goal of increasing access to affordable, quality health care by creating a competitive market for purchasing health insurance and health services. Insurers and other companies will be able to offer more flexible insurance options and other products geared toward businesses with 50 or fewer employees. The program is administered by a 15-member board made up of appointees chosen by the Governor, the Senate president, and the House speaker.
In 2012, Florida Health Choices will begin to roll out Florida’s Health Insurance Marketplace in several phases. The Marketplace is a central web portal where small businesses and eligible individuals can choose from a variety of health plans and services. With a single point of access to compare multiple insurance products, consumers are able to enroll in the product that best meets their needs.
With several phases planned over the next 18 months, Florida’s Marketplace will evolve and grow to include more vendors, products and web-based functionality in each phase.
Governance and Stakeholders
Created in state law, the 12 voting members of the Florida Health Choices Board of Directors are appointed positions by the Governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House of Representatives. In addition, by law the Board includes three non-voting ex-officio members, one each from the Agency for Health Care Administration, Department of Management Services, and the Office of Insurance Regulation, which serve as important state agency partners. Florida Health Choices has established steering committees responsible for providing advice and recommendations to the Board.
Eligibility for Florida’s Health Insurance Marketplace
- Small employers (2-50 employees)
- Fiscally constrained counties and their school districts
- Municipalities with fewer than 50,000 residents
- Statutory rural hospitals
- Employees of enrolled employers
- State employees ineligible for state health benefits
- State retirees
- Medicaid reform participants who opt out
- Health insurance agents licensed in by the State of Florida
- Health Maintenance Organizations
- Prepaid health clinics
- Licensed health care providers including hospitals, licensed health facilities, health care clinics, licensed health professionals, pharmacies
- Provider organizations including service networks, group practices, professional associations and other incorporated organizations of providers
Florida’s Health Insurance Marketplace
Over an 18 month period, Florida’s Health Insurance Marketplace will be launched in three distinct phases – Quick Start, Mid-term Phase, and Long-Term Phase. As the program progresses over time, the Marketplace will evolve and grow to include more vendors, products and web-based functionality.
Currently, the major components of the Marketplace include:
- Web-based portals specifically designed for employers, employees and agents
- Shop-and-compare functionality to facilitate choice
- Online calculator to compute monthly costs
- Ability to find an agent
- Back-office product, service and financial support
- Customer contact center located in St. Petersburg, Florida
Initially, Florida’s Health Insurance Marketplace will include health insurance policies and health maintenance contracts. As the program matures, additional options will include:
- Limited benefit plans
- Prepaid clinic services
- Service contracts
- Arrangements for specific amounts and types of health services and treatment
- Flexible spending accounts
Start-up funding to design and launch the program was provided by the State of Florida in the form of a one-time lump sum appropriation of $1.5 million. The Marketplace must become financially self-sustaining through the use of a minimal surcharge on the products it sells which cannot exceed 2.5 percent.
How is Florida’s Health Insurance Marketplace different from an Insurance Exchange under National Health Care Reform?
While both programs are web-based and allow for choice among available products and programs, there are some essential differences in how they work. For instance, participation in Florida’s Health Insurance Marketplace is purely voluntary for employers, employees and individual consumers. It was designed by the State of Florida to serve Florida’s unique insurance market, and it will connect consumers with the insurance agents and health benefit providers they are seeking. A wider range of service providers, insurance options, benefit levels, and a greater number of consumer choices are planned for Florida’s Health Insurance Marketplace.
Florida Health Choices Staff
Rose M. Naff, Chief Executive Officer
Rose M. Naff began her service driven career in state government at the Florida Department of Insurance. She is a proven leader and innovator in the area of child health policy, outreach, insurance and health care finance. In 1990, Naff joined the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation. Over the course of 18 years, she developed the Corporation into a national model; assisted in implementing state and national health care policies; established fiscal guidelines for programs throughout the country; and worked closely with both state and federal legislators. In 2009, she was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Florida Health Choices, Inc. by the Board of Directors.
During her tenure with Florida Healthy Kids, Naff was recognized on numerous occasions for her efforts on behalf of Florida’s uninsured children. In 1996, she accepted an Innovation in American Government Award from the Ford Foundation and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The program was again recognized by Harvard in 2002 as a sustaining model of public-sector innovation of national significance. In addition, Naff received the 2005 Jack hardy Health Care Communicator of the Year award from the Florida Hospital Association.
Laura Schaecher, Administrative Services Director
Laura Schaecher maintains an extensive background in governmental affairs with an emphasis on research and analysis. As the Administrative Services Director for Florida Health Choices, Inc., Schaecher tracks legislative issues and serves as a liaison between the board, the steering committees, and the corporation staff. Schaecher is also instrumental in coordinating communications for the organization.
Prior to joining Florida Health Choices, Inc., Schaecher worked at Roetzel & Andress, L.P.A., a Tallahassee-based government relations firm, where she performed legal and legislative policy research and analysis for clients, attorneys and lobbyists. In 2011, Schaecher joined Uhlfelder & Associates, P.A., working with a variety of clients on legislative and executive branch issues. Schaecher holds two Master’s degrees from Florida State University.
Board of Directors
Durell Peaden, Chair
Sherri Meadows, Vice Chair
Walter Nason, Secretary/Treasurer
Daniel Diaz Leyva
Agent Steering Committee:
Bonnie Hauck Evelyn
D. David Russell
Vendor Steering Committee
Aetna, Inc. represented by Sherry R. Baker
America’s Health Insurance Plans represented by Joy Ryan
Argus Health Plans represented by Nicholas M. Kavouklis
AvMed Health Plans represented by Javier Mendoza
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida represented by V. Sheffield “Chip” Kenyon
Broward Health represented by Joseph Rogers
Capital Health Plan represented by Tom Glennon
Centene Corporation and Sunshine State Health Plans represented by Holly Benson
Consumer Health Alliance and Coverdell represented by Vincent DiBenedetto
Coventry Health Care of Florida, Inc. represented by Darcey A. Gartner
Delta Dental represented by Jeff Album
Dentalplans.com represented by Josh Babyak
DentaQuest, Inc. represented by Lauren Overton
Florida Association of Health Plans represented by Michael W. Garner, Ph.D.
Florida C.H.A.I.N. represented by Greg Mellowe
Florida Health Care Plans represented by David C. Schandel
Florida State University School of Medicine represented by Leslie M. Beitsch, MD, JD
Humana represented by Tim Love
Liberty Dental Plan of Florida, Scot Giambruno
MCNA Dental Plan represented by Carlos Lacasa and Glen Feingold
Preferred Medical Plan represented by Alberto Arca
United Healthcare of Florida, Inc. represented by Glenn Baker