The Sunshine Economy: Obamacare Comes To South Florida

Oct 1, 2013

Credit Tom Hudson

These are the faces of the uninsured in South Florida. Eddie Escobar, Kwami Livingston and Jersey Garcia (left to right) are three of the more than one million people under the age of 65 in the counties of Miami-Dade and Broward who are living without health insurance.

Beginning Tuesday, they will be able to shop for health coverage and possibly qualify for a tax credit in order to meet the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which goes into effect next year.

Monday's Sunshine Economy at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. examines health care in South Florida on the eve of Obamacare. Floridians shopping for health insurance will have more than 100 plans to choose from with prices ranging from almost $100 to $500 per month or more depending upon the level of coverage and other personal characteristics.

But the Chairman and CEO of Florida's largest health insurance company, Pat Geraghty, tells the Sunshine Economy Florida Blue is offering fewer plans for individuals under ACA than what it offered the market prior to the health insurance reform law.  

Join host Tom Hudson every Monday at 9:00 a.m. for WLRN's ongoing series, The Sunshine Economy, a weekly look at the key industries transforming South Florida into a regional powerhouse.
Credit WLRN

Florida led the fight against the federal law that led to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the law as constitutional. As the October 1 open enrollment date approaches, Florida state leaders have raised concerns about privacy protection from the health care navigators hired to help customers wade through the arcane world of health insurance policies.

The Florida Department of Health moved to ban those navigators from its health facilities but Broward County Mayor Kristin Jacobs, along with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez led efforts to ignore the state directive. We talk with Mayor Jacobs about the decision.

Most Floridians with health insurance get coverage through their employer and the new ACA state health insurance exchange is expected to impact premium prices throughout the health insurance market. Hear from two employee benefit experts who describe concerns they have about the rising cost of health coverage. They also describe prices people should expect to find when shopping on the exchange.

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A key question that remains unanswered is what exactly will people be buying, according to Miami Herald editor Amy Driscoll. Driscoll notes while the government has released preliminary information on prices, it hasn't been transparent about plan specifics such as deductibles, co-pays and preventative care.

We talk about the ACA coverage estimates and how they compare with what South Floridians have been paying without health insurance reform.

Escobar, Livingston and Garcia are just three people in South Florida living without health insurance. We ask them why they don't have coverage, whether they plan on meeting the individual mandate and what they want out of their health insurance coverage.