Florida’s Health Insurance Marketplace
Florida’s Health Insurance Marketplace was designed by the State of Florida to serve Florida’s unique insurance market and to connect consumers with the health benefit providers they are seeking. A wide range of service providers, insurance options, benefit levels, and consumer choices are planned.
Florida’s Health Insurance Marketplace launched in phases, with additional vendors, products and functionality being added over time. The major components of the Marketplace include:
- Web-based portals specifically designed for individuals, children, families, employers, employees, licensed professionals, associations, and agents
- Shop-and-compare functionality to facilitate choice
- Decision-making tools
- Ability to find the assistance of a licensed agent
- Back-office product, service and financial support
- Customer contact centers
- Provider searches
Florida Health Choices will continue to examine the overall health and insurance markets in Florida with an eye toward any segments that can be supported without over-reaching sustainability. Additional expansions to support other vendors and products will coincide with consumer need, vendor interest, and demonstrated commitment to Marketplace participation.
Eligibility for Florida’s Health Insurance Marketplace
Participation is purely voluntary. Participants may include the categories listed below:
- Employees of enrolled employers
- Individuals and their family members
- Children only
- Florida employers
- Florida associations
- Health insurance agents licensed by the state of Florida
- Health Maintenance Organizations
- Discount Medical Plan Organizations
- Limited Benefit Plans
- 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
The health care landscape in our country is constantly evolving. As new federal regulations change the way we deliver services, employers, individuals and providers must navigate the 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 and individuals to be able to access health insurance and health services without the hassle of dealing with the “insurance buying process” or only providing a “one-size-fits-all” plan.
In May 2008, SB 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, associations, individuals, kids, and families. The Corporation was administered by a 15-member board made up of appointees chosen by the Governor, the Senate president and the House speaker. Start-up funding to design and launch the program was provided by the State. The Marketplace was charged with becoming financially self-sustaining through the use of a minimal surcharge on the products, not to exceed 2.5 percent.
In 2014, Florida Health Choices began to roll out Florida’s Health Insurance Marketplace in phases. The Marketplace is a central web portal where businesses and eligible individuals can choose from a variety of health plans and services. The Marketplace serves individuals, children, families, and professionals licensed by the state of Florida, offering comprehensive coverage, kids’ insurance, dental, vision, and more. With a single point of access to compare multiple insurance products, consumers are able to enroll in the product that best meets their needs.
In 2017, after the state declined to further funding, the corporation and board of Florida Health Choices as dissolved. Member Benefits, the acting administrator for Florida Health Choices at the time, acquired the assets and has continued operations as a private venture.
With several phases planned, Florida’s Marketplace will evolve and grow to include more vendors, products and web-based functionality.