The Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange was passed Wednesday. The Senate approved its plan for health insurance to more than a half-million Floridians.
Senator Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, chaired The Florida Senate Committee on Health Policy, Bill 2-A, Health Insurance Affordability Exchange.
"If you think this bill is expansion of Medicaid, you are mistaken." said Bean.
Senator Rene Garcia R- Hialeah continued to make the case for why Florida needs to accept federal money to help uninsured or underinsured Floridians.
“We can never lose sight of the people. These are students who by no fault of their own have no access to insurance,” said Garcia.
The Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange, or FHIX plan program, is a consumer-driven approach to providing access to high-quality, affordable healthcare coverage while promoting personal responsibility.
Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, said the FHIX is a Florida-based, free-market alternative to ObamaCare Medicaid Expansion.
“Traditional Medicaid is a government entitlement program with little accountability for outcomes or performance, the costs of which are largely unpredictable yet ever-increasing. FHIX 2.0 is a Florida-based, private insurance marketplace, an economic generator with a projected positive net fiscal impact over ten years,” said Gardiner.
To be eligible, an individual must be both a U.S. citizen and a Florida resident. Participants are required to complete an initial application for coverage which includes proof of employment, on-the-job training, or placement activities, including registration with CareerSource Florida, or pursuit of educational opportunities at a minimum hourly level.
Parents with children under the age of 18 would have a minimum requirement of 20 hours per week.
College students or caregivers of disabled children or adults may submit exceptions.
The bill provides the Agency for Health Care Administration with authority to seek federal approval to implement the FHIX program. Any significant changes to the FHIX program made or suggested by the federal government would have to be approved by the legislature prior to implementation.
Elizabeth Dudek, secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration, issued a statement saying her department has worked with the Senate on the changes.
"We still have many concerns with other areas of the bill, which would make it uncertain whether the FHIX plan will be able to provide more Floridians with health coverage," said Dudek.
The House is scheduled to meet Thursday and the Senate meets again on Friday, in hopes to steer the state budget into a joint committee.
The special session started June 1 and runs through June 20