Tampa, Florida -- Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act begins on October 1st. The new law requires all Americans to have health insurance by January, 2014 or face fines.
Whether you already have health insurace or you'll be one of those shopping for it in the marketplace exchange, the biggest concerns about the ACA is likely "how much will it cost."
"We can't tell anyone yet--untill after October first--how it's going to affect them individually because we don't know," said Tom White, an independent insurance agent in Tampa. "Nor does the insurance company even."
White's clients are usually individuals looking to buy health insurance or small businesses trying to provide it for their employees.
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"The only thing I can promise them is that each year, they will have a rate increase," said White. "And unfortunately this year is not going to be different."
Increases in health insurance are nothing new in Florida. White says rates have gone up an average of 11% each year since 1999.
Kevin McCarty, Florida's Insurance Commissioner, is predicting a much larger increase under the Affordable Care Act. In documents released in July, he suggested health insurance rates on the individual market could jump 30-40% in 2014.
But many feel that prediction is overblown. The Rand Corporation, a non-profit research group, recently released a report looking at the potential insurance costs for small businesses-- fewer than 100 people in ten states, including Florida. The study found the cost of equal plans would likely drop about six percent under the Affordable Care Act.
"The main reason insurers can lower rates over time is that they have a larger base to spread the risk over," said Tom White. "And that's what we're really trying to do-- get everyone insured."
Healthcare 411- Your source for Affordable Care Act info:
WTSP 10 News is spending the week answering questions on healthcare as we prepare for October 1st, and the launch of the Health Insurance Market Place.
Click here for the Healthcare 411 homepage
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