More than 2,000 Florida Bar members have completed the initial registration process to participate in the Bar private health insurance exchange that was launched October 1.
The exchange is designed to assist individual members and employer groups in securing health insurance coverage, as part of the Bar’s Member Benefits package.
Member Benefits, Inc., the administrator of The Florida Bar Member Insurance Programs, has introduced key enhancements to its existing health insurance program. Decision support tools and live customer support are available to help Florida lawyers determine their best course of action.
Of the 2,057 lawyers who have completed the registration process, 1,546 have created exchange accounts. The number differs from registrations, due to some registrations being employers that have yet to create accounts. Other registrants that are subsidy eligible are working with benefits counselors to shop for subsidized coverage on the public exchange rather than access the private exchange, according to a report from Member Benefits, Inc.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to assist the subsidy-eligible members like we planned due to the technical issues that the federal exchange website has had. However, we have invited them to shop for unsubsidized plans on the private exchange and will be able to assist them on the public exchange when it’s functioning correctly,” the report said.
So far, there have been 85 medical enrollments.
“Enrollment to accounts ratio may seem low, but this is expected, as it’s still early in the open enrollment period,” according to the report. “Members are primarily still shopping (i.e., browsing) at this point.”
The earliest exchange coverage can be effective is January 1, with the deadline to apply being December 15.
“There is also the majority of the membership that is either currently insured by their employer plan or through an individual plan that is being continued into 2014 before being canceled due to ACA,” the report said.
Member Benefits, Inc., anticipates the enrollment to accounts ratio to pick up significantly moving into 2014, and then even more so during the 2015 open enrollment.
These numbers also do not include enrollments from employer group accounts, which when launched will be a big part of the exchange that launched after this News went to press.
Member Benefits, Inc., staff will initially assist members and their staffs in estimating whether they qualify for a premium tax credit through the federal government. Afterwards, the individuals are directed to the least costly source to purchase a health plan. If directed to the private exchange, individuals create an online account and shop for benefits for themselves and their families, choosing from a wide variety of health plans that compete for enrollment within the exchange. Decision support tools guide consumers to the best health plan for their needs. Members can also purchase dental, vision, life, and disability insurance at special pricing.
Employers can create an account on the exchange, set a budget, and provide employees with a fixed amount of money (a “defined contribution”). Employees use the contribution to purchase the coverage and options of their choosing. If employees choose plans or mixes of benefits that cost more than the employer-defined contribution provided, they pay the difference.
A series of webinars are available to introduce the exchange and educate lawyers on how to participate. Members may call 800-282-8626 to learn more or register for an upcoming complimentary webinar online at www.memberbenefits.com/floridabar.