As one of the United States’ most economically active and populous regions, Florida’s insurance industry is a massive and potentially confusing system to navigate. From public-support policies and employer-supported healthcare pools, all the way to private care packages for self-employed people in the state, a wide variety of options are available, each slightly different to the next.
But despite its confusing outwards appearances, Florida’s health insurance system is really very similar to those used in other states. Employers are often used as points of access for insurance, with their employees receiving coverage under a ‘large group’ pool. Others may opt for a private individual package, while many more opt to use low-cost and accessible public medical care.
In this guide, we’ll look at the most popular forms of medical insurance in Florida, some of the top options for employees in the state, and a variety of individual and family options for people that are either self-employed or uninterested in employer-supported coverage. We’ll also look at pricing, the characteristics that can affect it, and which type of health insurance company is your best option.
First, let’s begin with the two types of health insurance offered to individuals in Florida. The first is known as ‘large group’ medical insurance, and is one of the most frequently used policy options for people employed at a medium-large company in Florida. Florida law determines that any company or organization or over fifty people is a large group, and thus qualifies for this type of coverage.
Generally speaking, employers that fit within this category are able to purchase group insurance for their employees, covering them against medical and health-related expenses with a pooled account. The advantage of this is affordability for the employer, as the overall costs of insurance decrease in bulk, and accessibility for employees, as a large financial pool is available to pay for healthcare.
It’s important to differentiate between health plans – often highly discounted health plans – and the more common large group medical insurance policies that are offered to employees in Florida. The first is unlikely to provide adequate coverage in the event of a medical emergency, leaving patients out of pocket in the event of a crisis, while the latter generally provides comprehensive coverage.
If you’re an employee with a Florida-based company, corporation, or non-profit organization, check what you’re entitled to under your employee contract. Many employers in Florida provide adequate and complete care through their employee-pooled packages. In this case, you’re unlikely to need to purchase additional health insurance, although in some situations it might be a wide investment.
Individuals that are not covered by an employer, of self-employed people in Florida, may need to purchase an individual or family-based health insurance plan. These are available from a range of insurance companies in Florida. Due to the state’s large economy and population, competition for customers is high, and most large insurance companies offer affordable service to their customers.
Generally, the most affordable of these packages are known as limited benefit insurance – a form of health insurance that offers coverage up to a certain financial limit. These policies are not ideal, as a person insured under them may be liable for expenses over this pre-defined limit. In many cases, it’s possible for someone backed by these policies to end up with substantial additional health expenses.
Due to this limited coverage, it’s best for individuals with reasonable healthcare concerns to choose a comprehensive health insurance policy. These are available from a variety of insurance companies in Florida, both nationwide and state or city-based. These plans will often provide coverage up to a limit of $2-3 million annually, offering complete coverage for even the most severe medical needs.
In the case of family health insurance policies, this figure is often assigned on an individual basis, leaving each and every family member insured under the policy protected up to this sum. Because of the added security and value that these policies offer, they’re often a much more reliable option for healthcare than a discount plan or limited benefit policy, both of which provide limited support.
Now that we have an understanding of the type of policies offered in Florida, let’s look at the health insurance companies that are offering them. Florida is home to a range of nationwide healthcare and insurance providers, many of which offer competitively priced services. Generally speaking, larger companies in the state are financially comfortable and reliable, offering great service at good prices.
However, they’re often beaten in value by smaller providers, brokers that work directly with them, and resellers in the state. If you’re based in a major metropolitan area such as Miami or Orlando, it may work in your favor to speak with a broker in your city. In many cases, a broker can find you a health insurance policy from a major company at lower rates than their direct agents are able to.
Whether you opt for a comprehensive individual policy or an employer-backed health insurance plan, it’s very likely that you’ll receive the coverage you’re entitled to in Florida. Despite its tough outward appearance, health insurance in the state is relatively simple to navigate and manage. Be a smart shopper and shop around, and it’s very likely you’ll find a great deal on high-quality policies.