Cover Florida Waives Requirement Of Six Months Without Insurance

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Unemployed Florida residents will be able to enroll in Cover Florida without having been uninsured for six months, as the program requires of some other beneficiaries, Florida Health News reports. The requirement that residents be uninsured for six months to qualify for the program was intended to prevent employers and individuals from dropping their health coverage to join the state-sponsored program.

Cover Florida will offer 25 privately operated plans managed by six insurers that lack some elements required under state law so that they can be sold at more affordable prices. The state last week signed contracts with the insurers, and residents can begin enrolling in the program on Jan. 5, 2009.

State Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Holly Benson said that during negotiations over the past six months, the state eliminated the requirement for people who recently became unemployed. "Considering the number of people who are worried about losing their jobs, this is a really attractive alternative for them," she said.

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However, those who have recently lost their jobs and already signed up for COBRA insurance will not be eligible for Cover Florida. The exemption from the six-months-of-uninsurance requirement applies to those who have recently lost their jobs; those who have lost, either through death or divorce, a spouse through whom they had employer-sponsored coverage; and those who have exhausted the coverage they held through COBRA (Gentry/Jordan Sexton, Florida Health News, 12/12).

Opinion Piece

"This week, Floridians are one step closer to having the affordable, quality health insurance options they deserve," Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) writes in a South Florida Sun-Sentinel opinion piece. He continues, "Floridians who have been looking for health coverage will have the opportunity to purchase a Cover Florida plan," which will "allow regular medical checkups that can help give Floridians peace of mind."

He writes, "If you are uninsured, Cover Florida gives you the opportunity to take charge of your own health care," adding, "All Cover Florida benefit plan options include a robust set of benefits," but the cost of coverage "varies, depending on your age, gender and whether you choose preventive coverage or catastrophic and hospital coverage" (Crist, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 12/14).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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