Coalition fights against easing health insurance requirement

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A coalition of groups Thursday asked federal officials to reject a proposal that would give Florida health insurers a temporary reprieve from a key requirement of the 2010 federal health overhaul, reports the News Service of Florida. The issue centers on the individual insurance market and a requirement that insurers spend 80 percent of the money they receive on patient care — known as a “medical loss ratio.” The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, citing concerns about the effects on the insurance market, has asked federal officials to allow it to phase in the requirement. Under that proposal, the ratio would gradually rise from 68 percent in 2011 to 72 percent in 2012 and 76 percent in 2013, before going to 80 percent in 2014. But the coalition, which includes the patient advocacy group Florida CHAIN, the Florida Academy of Family Physicians and Florida Legal Services, submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services blasting the proposal.”(We) submit that OIR has utterly failed to establish that an adjustment to the 80 percent MLR standard is necessary to avoid destabilization of Florida’s individual market,” the letter said. Meanwhile Thursday, OIR announced that two subsidiaries of insurer American Enterprise Group Inc. — a relatively small player in Florida — will leave the market. In a letter dated Monday, the company cited a “change in the regulatory environment” and pointed, in part, to concerns about the medical loss ratio for individual policies.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.