Health food stores in Florida have been making a big push to get patients to buy insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
The Florida Association of Health Care Organizations is offering free floridans health insurance for the first time in the state.
The agency, which includes all state health insurance carriers, said the goal is to provide access to coverage for patients who need it most.
“We have a growing number of local health food retailers in Florida that are making it a priority to offer a free medical insurance benefit,” said Dr. Eric Jorgensen, an associate professor of public health at the University of Central Florida.
“There are so many of them that are opening, and they are working hard to get their stores to accept the new FLOP program.”
In Florida, there are more than 6,000 health insurance retailers.
Jorgenson said it is estimated that the new state health care law will cost the state $500 million to $600 million to cover its health care needs.
Jorgensen said there are about 400 health insurance companies that offer health insurance to Floridians, and he expects there to be many more in the future.
“They are the ones that will be most likely to offer it, because the state is getting a lot of coverage from the Affordable Healthcare Act,” Jorgens said.
“We’re hoping they will be able to take advantage of that.”
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, about 1.7 million Floridans have health insurance through a state or federal program.
The state’s new health care program is designed to cover people who qualify and pay the premiums.
The program is similar to the Medicare program, but it requires all Floridian residents to get coverage through either the state or a federal program, which means many people will have to pay more for their coverage than they would with Medicare.
Jorger said some of the health insurance stores will have a discount if they are offering the free FLIP card to the public.
Jorger hopes to offer the card at some of those stores by March.
In addition to health food shops, the agency said it will be hosting two free health clinics from March 19 through April 1.
Jorsen said the clinics will be open to anyone who needs them, and people will be given a number that they can use to call or text for appointments.
Jorsen hopes to make this the first statewide health insurance program in Florida.
The association said it was hoping to provide a financial incentive for Floridan families to get insurance, but he said he was hopeful the program would expand statewide.
“There is a lot that we can do, but we still have to be diligent about getting the word out,” Jorgers said.
“I want to encourage our citizens to have access to health care when they need it.”
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