Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Health Insurance Open Enrollment Month

Self-Employed And Small Business Insurance Available This Month

LABELLE, FL. -- Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink is urging self-employed Floridians to remember that August is open enrollment month for single-group employers to get health insurance or switch plans on a guaranteed-issue basis, meaning insurers and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) must offer coverage without regard to health status.  The open enrollment period begins today and continues through August 31, 2007. 

"Our small employers are the backbone of this state and I want to make sure they take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity to get health coverage," said CFO Sink.  "There is no other time of year that coverage is guaranteed for the self-employed, so they should act now to get insurance or review their current policy."

The open enrollment period requires insurance companies and 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.  Companies that write coverage for small groups are required to offer Basic or Standard plans to the self-employed.

A sole proprietor, independent contractor or self-employed individual can apply for coverage if all of the conditions and criteria established in the law are met, and certain documentation verifying the operation of an active business is provided, including tax forms, license information and business receipts, per Florida Statutes 627.6699(3)(u).

A list of insurance companies offering coverage is posted on the Department of Financial Services' website at To learn more about plan options, visit

Coverage options for employers also include health savings accounts (HSAs) or 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 accumulate until the policyholder is age 65, at which time the money can be used for any purpose.

Consumers may contact the department's toll-free consumer helpline at 1-800-342-2762 or log on to to request a free Health Insurance Guide or Small Business Owners' Insurance guide.

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