Florida | Fall | 2008 | Health Plan Analysis

The small-group market in Florida posted 5 percent gains in enrollment at mid 2008, but the economic recession is likely to put a damper on small-group business in a state relying on the troubled industries of home construction and tourism. Gov. Charlie Crist's program to offer health insurance the state's 3.2 million uninsured – called Cover Florida – is getting a boost through participating health plans that are fielding products with premiums below the targeted $150 a month. The managed Medicaid market in Florida is attracting more national players lately with both Molina Healthcare and Centene Corp. expanding in the state through purchases of provider service networks. Meanwhile, it's still up in the air whether Florida lawmakers will expand the Medicaid Reform program that allows health plans and provider service networks to customize benefits to beneficiaries. The vibrant Florida Medicare Advantage market is likely to grow in 2009, but seniors will see drug benefits pared. Miami-Dade County remains the hotbed of Medicare Advantage activity – primarily because of its high reimbursement rate from the federal government – and nearly half of the county's seniors are enrolled in MA plans. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida has consolidated its lead in the northern half of the Sunshine State with its purchase of Florida Health Care Plans, which has about 60,000 commercial and Medicare members.