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Affordable health insurance still available



By Pat Geraghty

In January, Donald Trump will be sworn in as our next President. At the same time, we will welcome in new and returning legislators at both the federal and state levels. With this change, there is promise and opportunity if we all share the same goal of providing access to affordable, high quality health care.

As a solutions-oriented company, Florida Blue complied with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, because it was the law of the land and because it made health care coverage available to many more Floridians.

Today, more than 20 million Americans – almost 2 million in Florida – are able to access health care for themselves and their families in the individual health insurance market. Now we are ready to work with the new Administration to identify the funding, benefits and guidelines through which even more Americans are provided the opportunity to obtain health care coverage.

While there have been early discussions regarding a replacement to the ACA, we must not overlook the millions of Floridians who are covered in the individual market today, 90 percent of whom receive a federal subsidy.

The goal of a health care solution should not be to limit or reduce the number of insureds, but to grow it exponentially. The financial benefit of health insurance is well documented. A recent National Center for Health Statistics study revealed that the number of people who have trouble paying their medical bills has dropped significantly over the past five years. Nevertheless, while the number of uninsured is dropping, those who remain without coverage are more susceptible to home foreclosures, personal bankruptcies and other financial crises.

Florida Blue’s mission – to help people and communities achieve better health – starts with providing strong health care coverage. We currently have nearly 700,000 members in the individual insurance market and in Florida, interest in health care coverage and activity during this open enrollment period remains high. We anticipate the potential of an additional 250,000 individuals entrusting us with their coverage this enrollment cycle.

As we sign up significant numbers of new members, we are educating applicants about their coverage options, and we are supporting their quest to find affordable health care coverage.

During the week following the election, Florida Blue saw a 70 percent increase in enrollment submissions compared to the same period last year. Additionally, during the two weeks after the election, more than 26,000 Florida residents visited one of our Florida Blue Centers. Floridians understand the importance and value of having health insurance, and they are taking action to obtain coverage.

As we anticipate the change that will surely take place in the health care industry, we look ahead with optimism and extend our hand to federal and local leaders. Together, with a focus on affordable, quality health care, we can create great solutions to meet America’s health care challenges.

Patrick J. Geraghty is chief executive officer (CEO) of Florida Blue, Florida’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield company, and a leader in Florida’s health care industry. Florida Blue has more than 5 million health care members in the state. Geraghty is considered an expert voice on a range of health care topics including health care reform in the U.S., next-generation payment strategies, innovation in health care and the benefits of wellness and prevention programming.

Use this link to learn more about health insurance enrollment in Apopka.


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