Yesterday, the opening day of 2015 Special Session A, the Florida Senate Committee on Health Policy chaired by Senator Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) passed Senate Bill 2-A, Health Insurance Affordability Exchange. The legislation strengthens the core principles of the Florida Senate’s Health Insurance Affordability Exchange (FHIX) Program, including consumer choice and personal responsibility, which earned the overwhelming bipartisan support of the Senate during the 2015 Regular Session.
The FHIX program offers health care coverage to an estimated 800,000 uninsured, low-income Floridians earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). Under FHIX, enrollees will receive a premium credit, to shop for plans, services, and products on the FHIX marketplace. Enrollees may access plans on the federal health insurance exchange, all Florida Health Choices products and services, products offered by the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation, and employer sponsored plans. Enrollees will also be provided with a health reimbursement or health savings account.
To be eligible, an individual must be a U.S. citizen and a Florida resident. Participants are required to complete an initial application for coverage which includes proof of employment, on-the-job training, or placement activities, including registration with CareerSource Florida, or pursuit of educational opportunities at a minimum hourly level. Parents with children under the age of 18 would have a minimum requirement of 20 hours per week. Childless adults (disabled adults or caregivers of disabled children or adults may submit exceptions) would have a minimum requirement of 30 hours per week.
The bill provides the Agency for Health Care Administration with authority to seek federal approval to implement the FHIX program. Any significant changes to the FHIX program made or suggested by the federal government would have to be approved by the legislature prior to implementation. Triggers to end the program in its entirety are also included should the program not be approved or if the federal match rate falls below certain thresholds.
For more information on the FHIX program, please visit the Florida Senate online.