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United Drops 300 Doctors; Layoffs Hit WellCare

UnitedHealthcare is triggering a furor in southwest Florida by dropping 300 physicians from its AARP/Medicare Complete HMO network, according to the Fort Myers News-Press. That is the same United plan that made customers angry in Tampa Bay earlier this month by dropping Moffitt Cancer Center, the Tampa Bay Times reports.  United spokesmen said changes in federal Medicare Advantage payments have made it necessary to tighten up finances where it can.  The changes do  not apply to United’s commercial, Medicaid or AARP supplement customers. 

Tampa-based WellCare Health Plans Inc., which provides HMOs for state Medicaid programs and Medicare drug plans, is reducing its Florida staff by 115, the Tampa Tribune reports. The company says the layoffs affect about 3 percent of its workforce, and are the result of changes to federal and state government programs. Meanwhile, WellCare also says it anticipates it will add 500 jobs to handle new Medicaid customers it expects to get in the switch to statewide managed care by Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration. 

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.