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FL Blue Scrambles to Reinvent Itself

For insurers and the agents who sell their products, this is a time of great uncertainty, of racing to prepare for something that remains ill-defined: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. By October, if they want to be available for sales to individuals and small firms, insurers must be prepared to market themselves on an online website, even as they continue to market to large employers. Agents hope to figure out a role for themselves where they can still make a living.

In a story publishedin The New York Times, physician-consultant Kent Bottles describes the ACA's effect on the health-care industry -- especially insurers -- this way:  “It’s like Yugoslavia, and Tito just died.”

Reporter Reed Abelson uses the state's largest insurer, which now calls itself Florida Blue, as the lens through which to portray the uncertainty. CEO Patrick J. Geraghty describes a number of measures the company is taking to reinvent itself, including creating an Accountable Care Organization with Moffitt Cancer Center, buying physician groups, and creating one of the  nation's largest "medical homes" systems, which pay doctors to coordinate and provide better care.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.