Federal Shutdown and Insurance Rates
Florida insurance rates are in the news quite a bit, this last month or so, due to the Federal shutdown. At the center of the shut down is the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. One extreme outcome of the deadlock is how much people are being asked to pay for flood insurance. Both issues impact Florida residents, but sometimes it is difficult to understand the dynamics of both of these issues with the current political rhetoric flying around.
The Affordable Care Act
This hotly debated law that was signed in 2010 is really the expansion of insurance first provided through the Social Security Administration when Lyndon Johnson signed it into law in 1965 as part of the Social Security Administration. This law, however, was signed after twenty years and quite a bit of whittling. In 1945 Harry Truman first requested a National Health Insurance program and it took that long for people to get it passed through Congress. He and other groups like the American Medical Association saw a continued need to take care of the elderly and poor who did not have access to medical attention. Truman’s vision of the law was to look much like the intent of the current Affordable Care Act.
Medicare between 1965 and 2005
Over 19 million people over the age of 65 signed up right after Medicare was enacted into law. Other presidents have seen fit to expand Medicare to include more services. Richard Nixon extended it to individuals under the age of 65 who had disabilities. George Bush expanded it further by offering prescription drug benefit and additional coverage at another premium
Medicare in 2010
It was these expansions that led to president Obama attempting to expand Medicare’s model to Truman’s original vision of a national health care plan. One thing it proposes for people who qualify for Medicare is to raise the limit on income by 133%. The level of expansion and the attempt at adjusting some of the given private insurance laws concerns partisan groups. Although private insurance companies have slowly been adjusting since 2010, there is concern that the burden of insurance being passed onto the private sector may be cumbersome on the economy.
Impact on Florida?
As if moves forward and people call for Florida insurance quotes under the new law, what will really be of note is the income of people trying to access health care. If you are in that spot that puts you between a rock and a hard place for insurance, this may help because they have raised the eligibility ceiling. If you have higher incomes and less need for this, or if you choose not to use insurance, then the penalties advertised in the law will be of concern.
It was difficult enough for health care providers to figure out the simpler Medicare D package given out by George Bush in 2003, and this will also take some time and adjustment. It is advertised that the law is not supposed to impact existing programmes.
What we do know is that the first time a shut down was this severe it was because of an argument over Medicare spending by the Federal Level and both parties were deadlocked, leaving the country in a lurch. With this expansion of Medicare to Truman’s National Health Insurance idea, it appears the deadlock is similar.
Of a deeper concern for many Florida residents is the skyrocketing cost of flood insurance due to the national crisis Hurricane Sandy’s devastation. Since flood insurance is federally mandated, people want to know if there is any possible relief from their bills coming due. Just because the government is shut down, doesn’t mean that the premiums aren’t due and one article posted a person’s bill at around $68,000 dollars. The person’s last bill was a $4,600. That person also lived further up the coast in Massachusetts.
Since 80% of Florida residents live in a flood prone area, this impacts a great deal of homeowners. Many see the rates as tripled what they were. They see the rate hike as simply the insurance companies trying to help the federal government. They see it as an attempt to get back some of the money they shelled out in putting New York and New Jersey back together after Hurricane Sandy.
What the shutdown has complicated is that nobody can call someone up at the federal level to get answers. People want to debate as to why the flood rates have gone to the moon for people calling to Florida insurance quotes. The real problem is there used to be a peer reviewed process on flood insurance maps that set up the rating system. There’s just nobody to call up and ask about how they are going to review the maps or how (or if) the federal government is going to find away to give property owners a reprieve on these new rates.