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Florida unveils 2016 individual health chessboard

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided. may have more health plan options to put on its shelves in Florida in 2016, in spite of the loss of plans from Assurant Inc. (NYSE:AIZ).

See also: Assurant describes health market exit plans

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation today announced that premiums for individual coverage that comply fully with Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requirements will increase an average of 9.6 percent in 2016.

Changes at the 19 issuers participating in the market will range from an average decrease of 9.7 percent to an average increase of 16.4 percent. The figures include both on-exchange products and PPACA-compliant individual products.

A year ago, Florida insurance regulators said they had received 2015 rate filings from 19 issuers, and that 2015 individual rates would be 13.2 percent higher than the comparable 2014 rates.

Assurant Health, a unit of Assurant, entered the Florida PPACA exchange market for the first time this year. Through the Time Insurance Company subsidiary, Assurant Health offered 176 off-exchange plans, and 36 plans sold both on and off the exchange, for the 2015 coverage year, according to a Florida 2015 plan count chart.

Assurant announced earlier this year that it will be shutting Assurant Health down and pulling out of the exchange program in 2016.

Florida lets the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) run its exchange program through the system. has been more successful at selling plans in Florida than in any other state, and most of the 50 U.S. ZIP code areas with the most exchange plan enrollees are in Florida.

See also: 10 ZIP codes that love PPACA exchange plans

The 2016 plan count chart shows that issuers expect to sell 515 off-exchange plans in at least one Florida county in 2016, down from 554 this year.

But regulators expect to see issuers sell 293 exchange plans through in at least one county next year, up from 278 this year.

Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET), Cigna Corp. (NYSE:CI), UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida seem to be offering about as many plans next year as they’re offering this year.

Two companies that are not in the Florida individual market this year — AvMed Inc. and Celtic Insurance Company, a unit of Centene Corp. (NYSE:CNC), a Medicaid plan company — are helping to fill the void left by the departure of Assurant Health by introducing a total of 19 exchange plans and 57 off-exchange plans.

Two Florida-only insurers, Florida Health Care Plan Inc. and Health First Health Plan Inc., are also expanding the number of options they offer.

Mid-level silver-level plans have been the most popular plans, and issuers expect to sell 93 of those plans through the exchange and 170 off-exchange next year. This year, issuers are offering 92 silver plans through the exchange and 177 off-exchange.