Health insurance in Florida: Is it worth the risk?
Posted On July 24, 2021
The U.S. has the highest rate of preventable deaths among developed nations, and Florida has the fifth-highest rates of preventative deaths among Americans, according to a new study.
While Florida does have some of the lowest rates of premature death among the nation’s 50 states, the state has also seen a surge in hospitalizations related to pneumonia and other health problems, the researchers said.
The study, released Wednesday, looked at medical records for people who had pneumonia and died during the 10-year period ending in 2012.
The researchers found that about half of the people who died in Florida were younger than 65 and had pneumonia, while almost half of those who died had heart disease or diabetes, and almost all were men.
More than three quarters of Florida deaths in 2012 were related to heart disease, and about one-quarter were related with diabetes, the study found.
“We know that there is a high risk for a lot of people with chronic conditions, like heart disease and diabetes,” said Dr. Daniel S. G. Kroll, the lead author of the study, a professor of health policy and management at the University of Florida.
“There’s no denying that.”
The Florida Department of Health and Human Services said it plans to launch a pilot program to measure how the new guidelines affect health insurance.
A recent survey of nearly 500,000 people in Florida found that fewer than half of people are covered through the state’s health insurance program, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, which is funded entirely by the federal government.
That leaves only about 40 percent of residents covered by Medicare, the government health insurance plan for the elderly and disabled.
In addition, many residents have no access to health insurance, according the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the state-run health care system.
But in Florida, people with private insurance may choose not to pay for coverage, said David P. Lutz, an associate director for insurance for the state health department.
“It’s a very challenging situation to have people with insurance, people that are sick, who are in poor health, and so many of those people are underinsured,” he said.
“The reality is that the state insurance market is extremely competitive.”
The state’s population of about 6.7 million people is one of the poorest in the nation.
About 4.6 million of them are uninsured.
The state spends about $10 billion annually on medical care, about $2.2 billion annually to treat the elderly, and $2 billion a year to treat people with diabetes and other chronic conditions.
“Health insurance in our state has not been able to keep up with the changing needs of the population, and it is not sustainable,” Florida Gov.
Rick Scott said in a statement.
Department of Justice said it was conducting an investigation into the state of Florida’s Medicaid program.