Florida’s Self-Employed Reminded About Open Season

August 1, 2007

August is open enrollment month for single-group employers to get health insurance or switch plans on a guaranteed-issue basis, meaning insurers and Health Maintenance Organizations must offer coverage without regard to health status.

“Our small employers are the backbone of this state and I want to make sure they take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity to get health coverage,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink. “There is no other time of year that coverage is guaranteed for the self-employed, so they should act now to get insurance or review their current policy.”

The open enrollment period requires insurance companies and HMOs to offer applications for coverage to the self-employed on a guaranteed-issue basis from Aug. 1 to Aug. 31 each year, with a plan start date of Oct. 1. Companies that write coverage for small groups are required to offer Basic or Standard plans to the self-employed.

A sole proprietor, independent contractor or self-employed individual can apply for coverage if all of the conditions and criteria established in the law are met, and certain documentation verifying the operation of an active business is provided, including tax forms, license information and business receipts, per Florida Statutes 627.6699(3)(u).

A list of insurance companies offering coverage is posted on the Department of Financial Services’ Web site

Coverage options for employers also include health savings accounts or health reimbursement arrangements. HSAs, which operate like Individual Retirement Accounts, allow people to save their own money in a tax-free account for use on health-related expenses. If the money is not spent, it will roll over annually and accumulate until the policyholder is age 65, at which time the money can be used for any purpose.

Source: Florida Department of Financial Services

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