CFO Alex Sink's Consumer eViews Newsletter

Volume 5 Number 31 August 1, 2008

CONSUMER SERVICES HELPLINE 877-MY-FL-CFO

 

CFO SINK URGES SELF-EMPLOYED TO BUY, REVIEW HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE DURING AUGUST OPEN ENROLLMENT

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink urges Florida’s self-employed individuals to take advantage of the August open enrollment period that allows single-group employers, sole proprietors, independent contractors and others to obtain health insurance or switch plans on a guaranteed-issue basis.

“This is a once-a-year opportunity for self-employed individuals to make sure they have the coverage they need to protect themselves and their families,” said CFO Sink.

August 1 through August 31, 2008, insurers and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) that write small-group policies must offer basic and standard coverage to the self-employed without regard to health status. Policies written or renewed in August have a plan start date of October 1, 2008.

Applicants must meet all of the conditions and criteria established by law, and provide documentation verifying the operation of an active business, including tax forms, license information and business receipts, per Florida Statute 627.6699(3)(u).

A list of insurance companies offering coverage is posted on the Department of Financial Services' website at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/Consumers/small_group_market_carriers.htm.

To learn more about plan options, visit https://apps.fldfs.com/sercs/.

In addition to basic and standard policies, coverage options for employers include health savings accounts (HSAs) or health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). HSAs, which operate like Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), allow people to save their own money in a tax-free account for use on health-related expenses. If the money is not spent, it rolls over annually and accumulates until the policyholder reaches age 65, at which time the money can be used for any purpose.

For information on sample rates for small-group policies, visit the Office of Insurance Regulation’s website at www.floir.com, click on the “Consumers” tab at the top, then scroll down to “Compare Small Group Medical Rates.” Be sure to click “One Life Factor” to view appropriate sample rates for single-group employers.

A Health Insurance guide and Small Business Owners’ Insurance guide are available at www.MyFloridaCFO.com. For further assistance, call the Department of Financial Services’ toll-free consumer helpline at 1-800-MyFLCFO (1-877-693-5236).