February 23, 2024

2009 Industry Outlook

Healthcare 2009

In Need of an Rx: With costs continuing to rise and an increasing number of uninsured patients, Florida's hospitals are bracing for a tough year.

Amy Keller | 1/1/2009
Cutting Back
A recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 47% of Americans report someone in their family is skipping medication or postponing or cutting back on medical care because of the costs.

April 2008 Oct. 2008
Putting off or postponing getting needed healthcare 29%
Skipped a recommended medical test or treatment 24% 31%
Didn’t fill a prescription 23% 27%
Cut pills or skipped doses of medication
19% 22%
Had problems getting mental healthcare 8% 12%
Did any of the above 42% 47%
Source: Kaiser Health Tracking Poll (Oct. 8-13, 2008)
The FHA’s Rueben believes the state needs to look at new ways to restore “more robust” funding for healthcare and says state lawmakers should consider increasing the tax on cigarettes to subsidize medical costs. “We have one of the lowest taxes on cigarettes in the country. Tobacco use drives the demand.”

As for a federal solution, Duncan isn’t holding his breath. “It’s clear the president-elect is worried about health insurance. His approach is to buttress the employer-based system. What will happen in the short term given the economic situation and short-term priorities is anybody’s guess.”

Insurance Stores

As more Floridians fall off the employer-based insurance rolls, BlueCross and BlueShield of Florida is providing more avenues to scout for health coverage. While the company still sells the vast majority of its policies through agents, 13% of new policyholders sign up over the internet. In addition, a growing number of customers are picking out plans at two “Florida Blue” retail stores — in St. John’s Town Center in Jacksonville and Pembroke Lakes Square Shopping Center in Pembroke Pines. Craig Thomas, BCBSF’s marketing vice president, says the consumer satisfaction level for customers who visit Florida Blue’s retail outlets is about 90% to 95% — “which is very impressive — probably unheard of from a customer experience standpoint” — and the company plans to open more locations this year.

Nemours Boost

Bright SpotsNemours, one the nation’s largest pediatric health systems, will break ground next month on its children’s hospital in Orlando. While the hospital won’t open until the third quarter of 2012, it’s already having an impact on the region. An economic impact study by the Milken Institute predicts that Nemours Children’s Hospital will create 5,082 jobs during construction and add $50 million to Orlando’s regional wage income in the first year and $81 million after five years.

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Mobile food truck provides fresh, free fruits and vegetables in Progress Village
Mobile food truck provides fresh, free fruits and vegetables in Progress Village

Hillsborough County and Feeding Tampa Bay are partnering with a local organization to provide healthy and fresh food in Progress Village. The Grow My Giving Mobile Fresh Market truck will provide free fruits and vegetables twice a month through at least September.

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