In 2012, an astounding 45 million Americans lacked health insurance coverage, including about 3.7 million residents of Florida. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, only about 50 percent of all working-age adults in this state receive their health insurance coverage through their employers. The remaining residents who do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid need to purchase their own health coverage, and for many, the costs have been daunting. If you are a Florida resident in search of a health insurance policy for yourself or your family, this is a great time to start comparing policies and quotes.
CDC Health Snapshot of Florida Residents
- About 37 percent of all screened FL adults showed high levels of cholesterol.
- Approximately 28 percent of all FL adults have a high blood pressure diagnosis.
- About 24 percent of all state residents have an arthritis diagnosis.
- An estimated 8 percent of all adult residents in FL have a diabetes diagnosis
- The American Cancer Society states that there were approximately 160,560 new cases of cancer diagnosed in FL in 2007.
- Of those, 11,420 were colorectal cancer and 11,710 were breast cancer.
More than half of the adult residents of Florida suffer from one or more chronic diseases. These diseases can lead to expensive healthcare costs. Many times, early intervention and treatment can handle these diseases effectively and efficiently.
Under the newly passed healthcare laws, health insurance providers must fully cover age-appropriate testing such as colonoscopies and mammograms. These tests are very effective at recognizing the presence of cancer at its earliest, most treatable stages. Having these tests done routinely can save many lives in Florida.
What Is the Florida Healthcare Exchange?
The Affordable Healthcare and Patient Protection Act requires that all U.S. citizens who do not currently have health insurance must obtain healthcare coverage in 2014 or pay a tax penalty. As part of this new law, every state, including Florida, has set up a healthcare exchange, or marketplace, where residents can purchase affordable healthcare at low group rates. These exchanges are available to those who do not currently receive health benefits through their employer, spouse or parents and are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid.
Certain factors determine price quotes for health insurance in the Florida marketplace such as the applicant's age, household income, dependents' ages, tobacco usage and the level of coverage purchased. Plans are available at the bronze, silver, gold or platinum levels. Low-income residents who make too much to qualify for Medicaid will receive the most in federal subsidies.
Health Risk Factors in Florida as Reported by the CDC
- Approximately 19 percent of adults and 16 percent of high school students smoke cigarettes.
- About 62 percent of adults and 15 percent of high school students in this state are overweight.
- An estimated 78 percent of adults and 74 percent of high school students eat fewer than five servings of fruit or vegetable per day.
- About 53 percent of adults in FL do not engage in sufficient physical activity.
- 22 percent of Florida’s women over the age of 40 state they have not had a mammogram in the past two years.
- 41 percent of FL adults over the age of 50 have never had a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.
- In 2007, 23 percent of this state’s adults under 65 reported having no health insurance coverage.
Citizens of Florida who do not have access to healthcare coverage may try to save money by avoiding medical examinations except when they feel it is absolutely necessary. This often results in the inability for doctors to treat illnesses or other medical problems during the initial and most curable stages.
The Affordable Healthcare Act mandates that insurance companies must cover preventive care, including annual examinations, age-appropriate screenings, blood work and blood pressure screening, at no charge. This measure can lead to longer, healthier lives for those who were previously uninsured or who lacked health insurance that provided adequate coverage.
Major Illnesses Create Financial Hardships for the Uninsured
A major illness such as cancer or stroke can lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in treatment and care. The uninsured must pay these costs out of pocket. Approximately half of all bankruptcy filings in the United States are due to overwhelming and unmanageable medical bills. In 2011 alone, 90,779 individuals in Florida filed for bankruptcy. In many cases, suitable health insurance could have helped avoid this dispiriting economic hardship.
Major illnesses are not the only things that can bring about excessive health costs. In a state where approximately one in five adults smokes cigarettes, smoking-related illnesses have led to expensive treatment and medical care. According to the CDC, in 2004, residents of Florida spent about $6 trillion on smoking-related expenditures, as follows:
- $1.06 trillion on ambulatory care
- $2.87 trillion on in-patient hospital care
- $499 million on nursing home care
- $1.07 trillion on prescription drugs
- $503 million on other, miscellaneous expenses
If you are a smoker, quitting now can start having a positive impact on your overall health in as little as one week. You may want to speak with your doctor about available smoking cessation programs, treatments and medications.
Get Help Obtaining Health Insurance Quotes in Florida
Finding and reviewing health insurance information can be confusing. With so many different insurance plans, levels of coverage, deductible amounts and premiums, it can be hard to decide which policy is the best choice for you and your family. An independent insurance agent in the Trusted Choice® network can help you by answering your insurance-related questions and helping you find and review plans on both the Florida Healthcare Exchange and the private market.
Contact a local agent to learn more about health insurance search and to start reviewing health insurance quotes.