TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A Senate panel Monday moved forward with a bill that could require insurance companies to sell policies to people with pre-existing conditions, along the lines of the federal health-care law commonly referred to as Obamacare.
The Senate Health Policy Committee unanimously approved the bill (SB 322), which would require insurers and health maintenance organizations to offer at least one comprehensive major medical policy or contract that does not exclude, limit, deny or delay coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
If passed by the Legislature, the requirement would take effect if Obamacare -- the federal Affordable Care Act -- is repealed by Congress or struck down by the United States Supreme Court.
Sen. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, said it is important to protect people with pre-existing conditions. But she asked bill sponsor Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, what, if anything, the measure would do to ensure the policies are affordable for consumers.
“I am worried about them being priced out of the ability to pay,” she said.
Simpson told her that he had another bill (SB 418) that addresses the costs of policies and that he hopes the committee will also approve it during the legislative session that starts Tuesday.
Coverage for people with pre-existing conditions was an issue that Florida Democrats tried to use at the polls last year.
A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services analysis shows that between 61 million and 133 million Americans have pre-existing conditions, depending on how the term is defined.