LABELLE, FL. -- Self-employed Floridians in need of health insurance can
obtain it through an open enrollment period during the month of August,
Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher says.
The open enrollment period requires insurance companies and Health
Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) to offer applications for coverage to the
self-employed on a guaranteed-issue basis from August 1 to August 31 each
year, with a plan start date of October 1. The open enrollment period
enables individuals without health coverage to obtain insurance.
Additionally, it provides Floridians that currently have health coverage
the opportunity to switch to another insurance plan.
Small employers are eligible if they have just one employee who qualifies
for coverage, and if they did not go into business primarily for the
purpose of buying health insurance. A sole proprietor, independent
contractor or self-employed individual is considered a small employer only
if all of the conditions and criteria established in the law are met.
A list of insurance companies offering coverage is posted on the Department
of Financial Services website at
available benefits, go to
Guaranteed-issue means insurers and HMOs must offer coverage without regard
to health status. Companies that write coverage for individuals are
required to offer only basic or standard plans.
With the passage of the Affordable Healthcare for Floridians Act last year,
coverage options for employers include health savings accounts (HSAs) and
health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). HSAs, which operate like
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), allow people to save their own money
in a tax-free account for use on health related expenses. If the money is
not spent, it will roll over annually and continue to accumulate until the
policyholder is age 65 at which time the money can be used for any purpose.
These accounts will help Floridians pay for out-of-pocket health costs
with pre-tax dollars and empower them to make wise financial decisions
about their medical care, said Gallagher, who co-chaired the Governor s
Task Force that suggested many of the new choices. These accounts will
not only help lower overall costs in the market, but they provide
Floridians seeking health care coverage another option. Additionally,
young, healthy individuals who so often choose to go without insurance will
be more inclined to purchase this type of coverage. The goal is to provide
all Floridians access to affordable health care.
Self-employed Floridians who apply for coverage must show certain
documentation verifying that they are operating an active business,
including tax forms, license information and business receipts.