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Health insurance panel warned of rising premiums from federal healthcare law

Florida insurance officials, Representatives of health insurance companies and consumer advocates came together Thursday to discuss the impact of the federal healthcare overhaul law. Although the full impact won't be known for some time, officials are voicing concerns about one leg of the nation's healthcare system, affordability:

“One of the main provisions in the law is a premium tax on health plans moving forward. According to the Congressional Budget office, the CBO projected that private health insurance premiums would increase on average of 5.7 percent a year between 2012 and 2022," Florida Association of Health Plans Director Michael Garner told the panel.

He says the Florida markets are concerned about two things: affordability and access. And when it comes to affordability, he says he expects insurance premiums to rise.

But Gardner adds that no one knows for sure whether that will happen, and a lot depends on whether Florida opts to expand its Medicaid program for low-income people under the healthcare law. He says that could ease the burden on private insurers.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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