Florida State Health Program Delayed
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's (R) Cover Florida program and two other proposed measures intended to expand health care coverage to more state residents have stalled, Florida Health News reports. State officials on Wednesday were expected to announce which of the nine health insurance companies, which submitted bids to offer basic low-cost health plans to residents, had been chosen as part of Crist's program.
However, Florida Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Holly Benson earlier this week said that the availability of the information on which companies were selected would be delayed until between Oct. 15 and Oct. 22. AHCA spokesperson Fernando Senra said "scheduling challenges" caused the delay. The goal is to close the contracts by "mid to late" November so that the plan can be implemented by Jan. 1, 2009, Benson said.
Meanwhile, a change in insurance law that would extend to 30 the age a young adult can remain on a parent's health coverage has been delayed over questions concerning who decides -- the employer offering the coverage or the parent of the young adult -- whether a young adult can remain on the policy, according to Florida Health News. On Monday, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida announced that it will suspend optional coverage for dependents ages 25 to 40 until the provisions of the law have been clarified.
In addition, a 15-member board that would have provided oversight of the Florida Health Choices, a program that would offer a virtual health insurance marketplace for employees statewide, has yet to be formed. One member has been appointed by the state House speaker, Florida Health News reports. The House speaker, Crist and the state Senate president each would make four appointments, while the final three members would be representatives from AHCA, the state Office of Insurance Regulation and the state Department of Management Services (Jordan Sexton, Florida Health News, 10/1).
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