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A look at the info the House is giving members on Senate’s FHIX plan, Medicaid expansion

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The House Health and Human Services Committee meets for three hours on Monday and will “workshop” the Senate’s proposals to expand healthcare coverage to uninsured Floridians by tapping into Medicaid dollars under Obamacare.

To assist them the committee will have a package of information compiled by House professional staff. There are pages of charts, figures, estimates and analyses that show that the Senate’s FHIX program would cost the state lots of money.

Additionally, it could cost the newly insured lots of money also, according to information in the committee package. One chart shows that the credit provided under the FHIX program would give people $3,850.32 to purchase coverage but that the “average value” of the silver plan on the exchange is $5,792.22.

The figure, per the Office of Insurance Regulation, also includes cost-sharing obligations for a 40-year-old man whose income is at or between 100 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

The House package also includes a March 12 Agency for Health Care Administration analysis of the Senate plan. AHCA is under the purview of the Governor’s Office and the agency secretary serves at the pleasure of the governor, who opposes the plan.

In short the analysis shows that “coverage expenditures” would be $2.797 million in 2015-16, of which all of it would be absorbed by the federal government. In 2016-17 expenditures would be the program would be $3.65 million, the majority covered by the federal government but $91 million would be required in GR.

The state revenue requirement, the analysis shows, would increase to $265.6 million as participation grows and the requirement that the state pay 5 percent is annualized. Additionally, the analysis assumes that FHIX would cover 968,672 enrollees; nearly 156,000 of the newly eligible, the analysis assumes dropped their private insurance coverage to be covered under the FHIX plan.

The analysis does include costs beyond what is spent on health care. AHCA built in a $6.2 million recurring increase in its choice counseling contract to help the newly eligible as well as recurring increases for its Medicaid management systems.

The analysis does include the “savings” in the Medically Needy program but does not include any savings from reductions in other programs including reductions in mental health and substance abuse programs provided by the Department of Children and Families abd the Department of Health’s Aids Drugs Assistance Program. “Further analysis will need to be done to determine the impact” of the cost savings, the analysis notes.

AHCA’s cost estimates also don’t assume any premium collection from the newly eligible, which the Senate FHIX 2.0 plan would require. “There will be an offset to these costs due to the monthly premium assessment collection but that has not been estimated in this analysis.”

The last page of the document shows the costs of the FHIX plan compared to the federal exchange, made available under Obamacare, which House leadership opposes.

The chart shows that to qualify for the federal exchange, applicants must work between 28 and 30 hours a week for individuals and between 30 and 40 hours a week for dual head of household. The Senate plan allows coverage for work, job placement activities or enrollment in school but would allow a parent with a child under 18 to work just 20 hours a week to qualify.

Additionally, the document shows that by maintaining the current system, the Medically Needy program would be on the chopping block. The Senate plan would eliminate the program.

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