Judge Blocks Release Of Health Plan Information

Nov 21, 2019

A Leon County circuit judge has issued a permanent injunction to shield from public disclosure information that a Medicaid managed-care plan submitted to state regulators. 

Judge John Cooper this month approved a request by UnitedHealthcare of Florida to prevent the Office of Insurance Regulation from releasing certain information as part of a public-records request. Cooper agreed with the managed-care plan that the information included protected trade secrets.

“Florida law recognizes a strong public policy and public benefit in favor of protecting trade secret information, both to protect the interests of the trade secrets’ owner and to facilitate the free flow (of) information between state regulators and regulated entities,” Cooper wrote. “Specifically, Florida’s Legislature has recognized the need for an exemption from the public records law … in order to protect regulated entities from public revelation of their trade secrets and to remove a reason for such entities to refuse to comply with state agency requests for information.”

UnitedHealthcare filed the lawsuit in 2017 after the Office Insurance Regulation received a public-records request for what are known as “affiliate services agreements” that the company was required to file as a Medicaid managed-care plan