100,000 In FL Must Find New HealthCare.gov Plans

Dec 22, 2015

Two insurers - Cigna and Preferred Medical Plan – aren’t offering plans on the Florida health care exchange in 2016, forcing more than 100,000 Floridians to shop for new coverage.

Cigna representatives said South Florida fraud drove up costs. And Preferred Medical Plan didn’t get the money from the federal government it was counting on to cover its losses.

Floridians with plans from these companies face a looming deadline, said Daniel Chang, who covers health care for the Miami Herald.

“Those folks have a special exemption and they actually have until Dec. 31 to sign up for coverage that will begin in January,” he said. 

Chang said these people won’t be automatically re-enrolled on HealthCare.gov because their carrier left the federal health care marketplace, which Florida and more than 30 other states use for individuals who qualify for tax credits.

“So they do need to go and make a choice,” he said. “Either meet with an in-person counselor or go to HealthCare.gov and re-select a new plan, essentially.”

Preferred Medical Plan, based in Coral Gables, covered around 75,000 Floridians in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Last week, the Miami Herald reported that the company announced its decision included it needing to lay off 162 employees in February.

Chang said when Congress set limits on the money insurers could receive to cover losses, some insurers including Preferred Medical Plan came up short.

“Preferred Medical says it was one of those and it was counting on that money in order to meet the state’s requirement in the bank to cover its claims risk,” he said.

Sammy Mack reports for WLRN in Miami. WLRN is part of Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.