Are Florida Health Insurance Discounts Dead?

The passage of the Affordable Care Act by the Obama administration led to a major battle. One particular mandate contested by Florida Republicans is the health care discount mandate. Governor Rick Scott is seeking a waiver that could potentially cost nearly $60 million in rebates alone. Who’s about to lose? Health insurance consumers can be out of luck.

What is the health insurance allowance?

It is known as the Minimum Loss Ratio (MLR) mandate. It states that insurance companies that do not collect at least 80 percent of the premiums they collect on individual and small business health insurance policies must provide rebates to policyholders. According to Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation, nearly 340,000 Florida residents would qualify for those FL health insurance discounts. Under the health care reform, insurance companies are allowed to withhold 20 percent of premiums for administrative costs and profit, but insurance companies are fighting for a larger share, even as some insurers have reported record profits.

While people who really don’t have a problem paying health insurance decide whether those who do get help, you can regain control of your health care costs. Instead of hoping for a discount, see what other strategies can help you spend less on health care.

It’s pretty common knowledge that Florida health insurance policies that don’t cover major medical expenses until you’ve paid a decent amount of medical bills yourself come with the lowest monthly premiums available. If you think this isn’t for you because you need a doctor to help you manage diabetes or you use a ton of prescriptions, the 2011 changes could make those plans more appealing.

Even a plan with a $10,000 deductible purchased now will begin providing health care coverage immediately, as long as the service is coded with the correct preventive health care codes. Everything from checkups and tests to detect illnesses to counseling to help you lose weight or improve the nutritional level of your meals is covered without you having to pay a deductible. However, there is one caveat. You must work with physicians in the plan’s network to avoid out-of-pocket costs.

This covered preventive health care may not provide everything you need, but you can save so much in premiums with a high-deductible plan that the amount you save will pay for any extras. Seriously, people are switching to lower their annual health insurance by hundreds and thousands of dollars.

For any out-of-pocket medical care, look for ways to lower those costs as well. Prescription prices are notoriously high, with more and more pharmacies offering discount programs. In addition, insurance agents hand out prescription discount cards. You may also be able to buy your medicine in a higher dose for the same price you pay now. Pharmacies sell real pill splitters so you can simply cut pills in half to keep using the same dosage, at half the cost.

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You may also want to look into PPO plans. This is a form of managed care that gives you substantial discounts for using a provider in the network. PPO networks are known for containing a significant number of providers, so they rarely reduce your choice of doctors. However, always check a plan’s provider network before applying.