Florida Health Choices has set Jan. 1, 2015 as the target date for its Obamacare plan offerings.
Florida Health Choices Chief Executive Officer Rose Naff told members of the organization’s board of directors on Friday that the plans will be offered through the Florida Health Choices website during a soft roll out beginning the week of December 15.
Florida Health Choices –a privately run “marketplace” where individuals and businesses could shop, up to now, for scaled back and limited health benefit plans, and dental plans — will start a $75,000 advertising campaign to announce the availability of the new offerings. The board approved the advertising campaign at a Tallahassee meeting on Friday. The goal is to have 1,000 previously uninsured residents sign up for coverage, according to board documents.
Courtney Heidelberg with On 3 Public Relations, said the advertising campaign would be in South Florida, mostly Miami Dade, but also some advertisement in Ft. Lauderdale, and Orlando. It will target uninsured adults between 25 years old and 65 years old.
Florida Health Choices was created in 2008 by then Speaker Marco Rubio and given $1.5 million in state funding. Initially as a mandate free “marketplace” for businesses but was later expanded to include individuals. The associations has received $2.4 million in state funds and has sold 49 plans. Florida Health Choices did not sell its first plan until this Spring.
The board made a decision in September to start selling “comprehensive” plans, or Obamacare compliant plans. The plans contain mandates that the marketplace initially was set up to avoid.
Sen. Aaron Bean championed the program in the House of Representatives for Rubio and served on its board of directors until he resigned to run for the state Senate. As a senator, Bean helped the group secure an additional $900,000 appropriation.
Bean said on Thursday he’d prefer for Florida Health Choices to not sell the plans because “in a perfect world, Obamacare wouldn’t exist.”
Given that, he said, “If this is what keeps them alive, then that’s the way they have to go right now.”