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Health Insurance Plans in Florida

Health-care companies said they were pressing forward with plans to implement the federal health-overhaul law, despite a new legal ruling that declared it to be unconstitutional.

The decision in a Florida federal court on Monday went further than an earlier Virginia ruling that voided the requirement that individuals purchase coverage. That deepens the confusion for many health-care corporations that already are scrambling to comply with the law’s early provisions and retool their business models.

Insurers last September started covering dependent adults, providing free preventive care and extending coverage to children with preexisting health conditions. This year, plans are held to a new standard that requires them to pay out at least 80% of the premiums they collect from individuals on medical care. They also are seeing cuts in funding to private Medicare plans, and are building their businesses to capitalize on an expected influx of some 30 million new paying customers in 2014.

Many hospitals are counting on the health law to limit the number of uninsured patients they treat. That would take some of the sting out of $150 billion in cuts to Medicare payments, which started last year. Pharmaceutical makers, meanwhile, won a provision in the law giving them 12 years of exclusivity on biotech drugs.

Most insurers were displeased that the law did not go far enough to curb rising costs. Now, the potential that it could be thrown out presents a new set of problems. If the requirement that individuals buy coverage disappears, insurers worry that some healthy people will elect not to purchase coverage, skewing the pool of insured toward the sicker and costlier. That could cause the price of insurance to rise. Many companies and their investors have come to see the law as an opportunity to innovate – and plans’ only hope to find membership growth by expanding Medicaid and subsidizing coverage of individual plans.

At Rocky Mountain Health Plans, which insures about 170,000 people in Colorado, chief executive Steve Erkenbrack said lawyers were examining the decision. Colorado is one of the 26 states that joined the suit in Florida.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 at 12:10 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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