Premiums, Benefits Increase for Florida Healthy Kids Full-Pay Progam
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In just a few weeks, 36,000 Florida families will see their health insurance rates go way up – for some it may be close to double – if they're part of the Florida Healthy Kids’ full-pay program.
That's because the program is required by the Affordable Care Act to provide extra benefits such as free preventive care and mental health coverage. And the plan will no longer have annual or lifetime limits so children with long-term illnesses won't max out their coverage.
Laura Brennaman, policy and research director for the consumer health advocacy group Florida CHAIN, says this is an unintended consequence of the ACA.
"Minimal essential coverage can cost more,” she points out. “Just like anything else that we buy, when the value of it goes up, the price also goes up. But we are getting more benefit for the coverage."
The existing policies, which expire Oct. 1, cost $153 a month. That will rise to $220 a month, plus co-pays and deductibles, or $299 a month with minimal cost sharing.
Brennaman encourages families to look into employer-based coverage or check out the federal health insurance exchange at healthcare.gov, which is opening up a special enrollment period now through November for families affected by this change.
"Some people might end up paying more and some people might actually end up paying less,” Brennaman states. “Some families may qualify for advanced premium tax credits if they buy insurance on the health insurance marketplace."
Professional navigators are available to help at coveringflorida.org.
Florida Healthy Kids’ full-pay program is for families that don't qualify for subsidized KidCare because they make more than twice the federal poverty limit.