Sen. Bean introduced his alternative Medicaid expansion proposal this week, which would create the Health Choice Plus program (HCP) to offer health benefits accounts to enrollees.  The existing Florida Health Choices Corporation would administer the program, including contract management, collection of contributions, and delivery of services.  Accounts would be funded primarily by enrollees (at least $20 per month), although the state would contribute up to $10 per month per enrollee, subject to annual appropriations and to the extent that funds are made available in the General Appropriations Act.  HCP enrollees would use their health benefits account funds for health care costs and services.  An important distinction between this plan, and Sen. Negron’s Healthy Florida proposal, is that it does not depend on the federal funds that will potentially be made available to the state pursuant to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The House has not yet unveiled an alternative proposal, although Speaker Weatherford has indicated that the House will soon release its own Medicaid expansion alternative plan that will also make use of the federal ACA funds. 


Read more on Health and Human Services bills…

Disposition of Human Remains
HB 171 (R. Rooney)/SB 370 (S. Sachs)

  • Summary:
    • Clarifies and updates the statutes relating to unclaimed and indigent burials
    • Provides that counties may adopt policies and procedures for the final disposition of unclaimed human remains
    • Authorizes counties to make final disposition of unclaimed human remains under certain circumstances
    • New language (from last year): allows certain veterans organizations to assist with recovery and interment of unclaimed cremated remains of veterans
  • Status: HB 171 passed the full House unanimously.  SB 370 passed its third committee, Senate Judiciary, unanimously, and has only one remaining committee stop before moving to the Senate floor. 


Smoking Preemption/Clean Indoor Air Act
HB 439 (R. Hagar)/SB 258 (S. Bradley)

  • Summary:
    • Currently, sec. 386.209, F.S. preempts the regulation of smoking to the state, except that school districts can further restrict smoking on school district property.
    • Bills would remove counties and cities from the preemption, allowing them to further restrict smoking on certain county or municipal outdoor property if they choose do to so by local ordinance. 
  • Status:
    • SB 258 passed unanimously in Senate Regulated Industries, amended to specify the locations where local governments can restrict smoking as well as the processes for enforcing local smoking ordinances. Additionally, non-smoking areas would have to be clearly defined, and designated smoking areas would be required.
    • SB 258 passed 6-3 in Senate Health Policy.  The bill allows a city or county to require, as a condition for a lease on property that it owns or controls, that smoking be prohibited on the property; however, it was amended in Senate Health Policy to provide that such a restriction may not apply to a pre-existing lease, including a lease renewal, without the lessee’s consent.
    • HB 439 has not yet been heard in its first committee of reference, Health Quality Subcommittee, although county and city elected officials from Chair Roberson’s district (Charlotte County) have communicated to him their support for the bill.
    •  Rep. Roberson, the subcommittee chair, does not support the bill. 

County Contributions to Medicaid Program
SB 1244 (S. Soto)/HB 1117 (R. Wood)

  • Summary: Creates study group to evaluate percentage of funds that counties are required to contribute to Medicaid program & provide recommendations to Governor/Legislature.
  • Status: 4 committee referrals in Senate; 3 in House; currently in Health & Human Services Appropriations

SB 1816 – Relating to Health Care

  • Summary: Creates “Healthy Florida” within the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation, to provide individuals who fall below 138% of the federal poverty level with access to subsidized private health insurance. 
    • The plan is an alternative to Medicaid expansion pursuant to the Affordable Care Act, but relies on the same federal dollars for funding.  Federal approval would be required in order for the state to gain access to these funds.
    • Enrollees would be offered choices of plans, which would be required to cover certain services and provide health savings accounts. Enrollees would have to meet certain cost-sharing requirements based on their income, which could be as low as $3 or $4 co-pays.
    • Plans would be required to meet an 85 percent medical loss ratio.
  • Status: SPB 7038 was introduced as a committee bill, SB 1816, and referred to the Health and Human Services Appropriations and full Appropriations committees. 

SB 7144 – Relating to Health Choice Plus Program

  • Summary: Creates the Health Choice Plus (HCP) program within the Florida Health Choices Corporation, to offer a health benefits program for uninsured persons ages 19 to 64 who fall below 100 percent of the federal poverty level but are not otherwise eligible for Medicaid. 
    • Health benefits accounts provided to enrollees would be jointly funded by the recipients and the state (subject to annual appropriations) and would not rely on the federal funds made available to Florida under the Affordable Care Act.
    • Funds deposited into health benefits accounts could be used by the account holder to offset health care costs or purchase health care services from the marketplace.
    • The bill has an estimated fiscal impact of $15,275,000 for SFY 2013-14.
  • Status: SPB 7038 was introduced as a committee bill, SB 1816, and referred to the Health and Human Services Appropriations and full Appropriations committees.