TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today the Florida House of Representatives approved final passage of legislation to support and streamline operations for Florida’s Health Insurance Marketplace. The bill is now headed to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk for signing.

Administered by Florida Health Choices, Florida’s Health Insurance Marketplace is a centralized web portal where small businesses and eligible individuals can shop and compare prices from a variety of health plans and benefit options.

In addition to allocating $900,000 in non-recurring general revenue to Florida Health Choices, SB 1844 simplifies the application process for individuals and small businesses seeking coverage through the Florida Insurance Marketplace and shortens the average time to begin coverage by as much as two weeks. The legislation fights exclusion by ensuring that no vendor offering products or services on the Marketplace can refuse to sell to a participant. In the same way, the bill removes restrictive eligibility criteria for individuals so more can be served in the future.

Through passage of this good bill, coverage through Florida’s Health Insurance Marketplace can be made available irrespective of someone’s income or the size of their employer,” said Rep. Travis Cummings, R-Orange Park, a supporter of the legislation.

SB 1844 helps employers by giving them more flexibility in establishing the open enrollment period for their employees and streamlines the on-boarding process for insurance vendors by exempting the Marketplace forms and website from redundant reviews.

In addition, the bill removes medical underwriting as a requirement in the future and pursues compliance with federal law by aligning product pricing in the Marketplace with requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

With this renewed funding, Florida Health Choices can continue with its intended purpose of providing Floridians with better access to more health care options,” Florida Health Choices Board Chair Durell Peaden said. “SB 1844 simplifies entry to our program, making it easier for small businesses and individuals to find the products and services that best meet their needs.”

Florida’s Health Insurance MarketplaceTM and Florida Health Choices, Inc. were established by the Florida Legislature to provide improved access to affordable, quality health care for residents statewide. For more information, visit www.fhc.changem.com.

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