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Behavior Must Change Before Health Care Prices Stabilize, Insurance Expert Says

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One prediction of the Affordable Care Act was that health care prices would drop when more people became insured. The idea was that providers would no longer shoulder the costs of caring for the uninsured.

But six years in, the price of health care continues to increase along with insurance premiums.

It takes time to get the newly-insured to visit their physicians for preventative care instead of visiting the emergency room when something is wrong, said Florida Blue market president Penny Shaffer during a recent interview with Health News Florida’s Tom Hudson.

“It's probably a three year trend to really change the behavior,” Shaffer said. “Year one you go back to the exactly the setting of care you always used you just do it with an insurance card now. So you don't see ER visits drop in the first year, it takes some time.”

Shaffer said she expects prices to stabilize over the next few years -- if Obamacare survives the next president.

In more than 20 of Florida's 67 counties, Florida Blue is the only insurer to offer plans in the Affordable Care Act's Marketplace.

Though the company offers fewer plans now than it did when Obamacare first began, Shaffer said Florida Blue is not taking away popular options.

“What we've learned is what the community is looking for particularly and so I wouldn't say we've limited them, I think that we've fine-tuned them,” Shaffer said.

Shaffer says plans that were not popular with the community were eliminated.

For the complete interview, click here.

Copyright 2016 Health News Florida

Health News Florida is now part of WUSF Public Media in Tampa, Florida.
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