Florida Health Exchange Signs Up Just 30 Consumers in 6 Months

Friday, 29 Aug 2014 02:38 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Six months after Florida created a state-backed website to help people receive affordable healthcare coverage, only 30 people have signed up, the Miami Herald reported.

The site, called Florida Health Choices, had enrolled seven other consumers in healthcare plans, but they later canceled because they either changed their minds or did not pay the premiums.

Last year, the state legislature helped to launch the exchange with an allocation of $900,000 after lawmakers had refused to expand Medicaid or work in tandem with the federal government to arrange subsidized health insurance plans.

But Floridians have turned up their noses at Health Choices, instead opting to sign up with Obamacare, which offers a variety of plans with subsidies for people who qualify.

"Obviously, we wanted more [business], but the competition is giving it away for free," said state Sen. Aaron Bean, referring to the millions of people who are drawn by the generous federal subsidies under the Obamacare exchange, HealthCare.gov.

But despite the slow start, Health Choices executives say they plan to seek new products and partners, and are even willing to sell insurance for pets if it brings sin new customers.

"We're going to continue to grow and learn about our users and enhance the platform," said chief executive officer Rose Naff.

The fact that only 30 people have enrolled in Health Choices is seen as startling, considering the fact that more than 760,000 Floridians are the agency’s target market, the Herald said, because they are too poor to afford subsidized plans and yet do not qualify for Medicaid under the state’s strict standards.

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