Florida Blue is Ready for Open Enrollment - South Florida Consumers Should Be Too!

Posted on Nov 2nd 2018 by Penny Shaffer

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Florida Blue is not only one of three insurers currently selling Affordable Care Act plans in South Florida, it is also the state’s largest — with more than one million policies sold across Florida through the ACA marketplace. As members across the state and nation prepare to choose a new plan, renew their existing plan, or enroll in an ACA plan for the first time, it is important that they understand what they are buying and what they get. The “total cost of ownership” includes not only the monthly premium, but also other out-of-pocket costs, including what must be paid before the deductible is met. A plan’s value includes other important benefits, such as no-cost or low-cost visits to providers and no-cost or low-cost prescriptions.

It is critical for everyone to revisit their coverage in the next few weeks. Even if someone tried an ACA plan but decided it was too expensive, they need to re-check. For those who want to stay with their plan, it’s important to review as tens of thousands of people qualify for financial help from the federal government in terms of paying for their monthly premium.

Even after five years of ACA enrollments, more than 800,000 people remain uninsured in Miami-Dade and Broward counties alone. A majority of them, more than 500,000, qualify for federal financial assistance that would help them pay for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

We understand health care can be confusing. We have a team of trusted agents available on-line, over-the-phone and in-person to help review the cost, coverage and benefits plus the potential for subsidy (whether you qualify for financial assistance to pay your monthly premium). We have 23 Florida Blue Centers across Florida including nine in South Florida where consumers can have a personalized meeting with a nurse, care consultant or an agent — face to face!

Here are some facts about Florida Blue’s participation in the ACA marketplace.

Since the ACA marketplace opened in 2013, Florida Blue has been the only insurer in the state to offer a variety of health care plans in every county of the state.

By offering plans in every Florida county, and by collaborating with key organizations that share our mission of helping people and communities achieve better health, Florida Blue has been able to grow our marketplace enrollment to more than 1 million members — by far the leading Florida insurer in the ACA — and the largest single-state ACA insurer in the country.

The ACA continues to be the law of the land, and we will continue to support the law until that changes. We have strong relationships with government leaders in Washington and Tallahassee, and we work closely with all elected official, regardless of party affiliation, on behalf of our members and other stakeholders. Florida Blue provides meaningfully different, consumer-focused benefit and network options for our diverse customers. Through our call center, our comprehensive network of contracted general agents, and our Florida Blue Centers, we offer multiple, real-time, face-to-face points of contact. This helps consumers understand their insurance choices, and find the plans that are best for themselves and their families.

Our 23 Florida Blue Centers across the state serve as significant hubs of information during the ACA open enrollment seasons, where individuals and their families can receive personal consultations on ACA plans available to them. Over the past four years, we hosted thousands of education seminars during the open enrollment periods. Plus, during each of the last four years of open enrollment we have averaged nearly half a million visitors to the centers annually.

For 2019, we requested a 4.5% increase statewide rate increase — the second lowest increase requested by Florida Blue since the ACA started. This moderate increases for next year reflects our experience in the ACA marketplace and our knowledge of covering the state over the last 75 years. As always, our focus is increasing access to affordable products and helping lower costs. In 2016, we introduced a low-cost product called myBlue in 12 Florida counties where the member’s primary care doctor served as the central point for all care. With this approach, members have access to $0 routine wellness checkups, including routine lab tests or blood work, $0 immunizations and vaccinations, $0 generic contraceptives, $0 three-month supply of mail order generic maintenance medications, $0 eye exams, lenses and more for children under 19.

In two years, myBlue has become our most popular ACA plan with nearly half-a-million people enrolled. It is available across the state, including in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.

Being part of the Florida Blue family gives members added value and benefit.

You get access to programs, tools and advice at no extra cost. There are discounts on health and fitness club memberships, and workout gear. You get tools, even on your mobile device, that help you research providers — a comparison showing the price, quality and expertise of doctors, clinics and medical facilities, and a comparison on prescription prices based upon your plan and at different pharmacies. Plus, nurses are always on call for Florida Blue members at no extra cost. Moms-to-be get prenatal support. And Florida Blue provides care consultants will help members understand and use their health plan and its benefits — to manage their health or a chronic condition, even plan for a procedure or surgery. Florida Blue has a team of trusted experts ready to help guide folks through Open Enrollment, which only lasts six weeks. We want everyone to know we’re here to help consumers best manage their health and their wallet.

Filed under: Community  

Penny Shaffer

Penny Shaffer is the South Florida Market President for Florida Blue, a leader in the state’s health industry. In this role, she leads the company’s regional plan for growing the business and the brand, as well as community, stakeholder and employee engagement. Penny is the recipient of numerous awards in health care and civic leadership, most recently the Power Leader of the Year from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and the Claude Pepper Award in Healthcare from United Homecare. She leads and is active with a number of area non-profit and civic groups and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Miami.

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