Small Employer Benefit Plan
Coverage Tax Credit
GOVERNOR BUSH SIGNS 'AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE FOR FLORIDIANS ACT'
Governor Jeb Bush signed
House Bill 1629, the Affordable Healthcare for Floridians Act. The legislation
will provide increased access to healthcare insurance by creating a more stable
and competitive market, raise the quality of care and patient safety and improve
transparency by giving consumers the information they need to make the best
will improve care, increase access to healthcare insurance and enhance
"This bill improves access
to affordable health insurance in our state," Governor Bush said. "By signing
this legislation, we will open the door to improvements in the health insurance
market, create a more consumer driven market and ultimately increase access to
healthcare insurance for all Floridians."
"We have heard from so many
hardworking individuals and small employers who are struggling to obtain, and
even maintain, health insurance," said Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher,
who co-chaired the Governor's Task Force. "Signing this healthcare package into
law will help employers maximize their insurance purchasing power, offer
consumers increased protections and access to health information, and expand
coverage options, especially for low-income Floridians."
Governor Bush signed the
legislation at the first in a series of town hall meetings. The town hall
meetings provide an opportunity for federal and state healthcare experts to
educate employers and employees on the new laws regarding Health Saving Accounts
(HSAs) and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). Bill sponsors Senator
Durell Peaden and Representative Frank Farkas joined the Governor and Lt.
Governor at the bill signing.
The Affordable Healthcare
for Floridians Act focuses on three main areas, which are:
The bill provides specific ways to make healthcare insurance more affordable and
more accessible. It allows for the expansion of the Health Flex program
statewide and recreates Florida's high-risk insurance pool for people who would
not otherwise have access to insurance. The bill also encourages insurers to
offer plans in combination with HSAs and HRAs created by the federal government
last fall. HSAs, which operate like Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), allow
people to save their own money in an account tax free for use on health related
expenses. If the money is not spent, it rolls over and continues to accumulate
until age 65 at which time the money can be used for any purpose.
- The bill creates a framework for facilities like hospitals and surgical
centers to make information regarding pricing and performance outcomes available
to the public as well as written cost estimates to patients before any
- The bill creates the Florida Patient Safety Corporation, which will collect
information from a variety of sources and recommend ways to reduce medical
errors. The Corporation will conduct a study of "near misses" and encourage the
development of electronic medical records and provide access to a library of
evidence based medicine and patient safety practices.
Floridians for Health Care
Choices, a coalition aimed at promoting new and affordable healthcare options
for employers and employees, is sponsoring town hall meetings throughout the
state. The meetings today in St. Petersburg and Orlando are the first in a
series scheduled across the state this summer to better educate Floridians on
the benefits of HSAs and HRAs. Federal and state healthcare experts will give
updates on the latest HSA and HRA policies and regulations, and representatives
of Florida's leading insurers will be on hand to provide information on specific
HSA and HRA products offered in the area at each of the town hall meetings.
For more information on the
Affordable Healthcare for Floridians Act or the Governor's Task Force on Access
to Affordable Insurance, please visit
www.myflorida.com. Or for a complete schedule of town hall meetings please