The Sunshine Economy
1:25 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

The Sunshine Economy: Fewer Choices, More Insured?

Click the play button above to hear the radio segment from this week's The Sunshine Economy: Obamacare Comes To South Florida on September 30 with host Tom Hudson. The show airs every Monday at 9 a.m. on WLRN 91.3 FM.

Some numbers to consider as open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) gets underway:

There are 10 essential benefits all insurance plans offered under the ACA health insurance reform law must have. They include hospital coverage, ER treatment and prescription drug benefits.

In Florida, 11 private health insurance companies are offering coverage. Not all 11 are selling health insurance in all Florida counties, but Florida Blue is.

Florida Blue is the largest private health insurer in the state. It has big corporations, small companies and individuals as customers. Under the ACA, it is offering fewer plans for Floridians than it did prior to the reform law, according to Chairman and CEO Pat Geraghty. He tells the Sunshine Economy that means fewer price levels for customers to choose from, but he thinks the fewer options means easier price and coverage comparisons between plans.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Obamacare Comes To South Florida

As the largest private insurer, Florida Blue contracts with hospitals, doctors groups and other health care providers at certain payment levels for their services. But its very difficult for patients to figure out that real cost prior to treatment.

In May, Mt. Sinai Medical Center CEO Steve Sonenreich pledged on the Sunshine Economy to work with their insurance provides to make public their contract prices. On the eve of open enrollment for ACA, Geraghty responded to our question regarding price transparency and price confidentiality clauses, saying he thinks "that's something that you will see coming."

The Sunshine Economy series is sponsored by Kaufman Rossin and Companyone of Florida's largest independent accounting firms.