Florida's Small-Group Health Insurance Grew in First Half of 2008, Though Economic Downturn Likely to Halt Upward Trend

Friday, December 5, 2008 General News
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NASHVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 4 HealthLeaders-InterStudy, aleading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that thesmall-group health insurance market grew 5 percent in Florida through thesecond quarter of 2008. According to the latest Florida Health Plan Analysis,this growth trend likely will not be sustained as the economy slows andhealthcare spending decreases.

"Small-group coverage is critical in Florida because small businessesrepresent about 90 percent of business in the state. While through the firsthalf of the year, the Florida small-group insurance market remained resilient,this success is not likely to continue," said Roy Moore, analyst withHealthLeaders-InterStudy. "Florida's economy depends heavily on constructionand tourism, which are obviously impacted by the economic downturn. Inresponse, some employers are shifting more cost to the employee, while othercompanies are eliminating coverage altogether."

According to the report, one potential outcome of this spend reduction isthe move to consumer-directed health plans, especially those with highdeductibles, though such plans have not traditionally been popular in Florida.

The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach andTampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater regions have been hardest hit in the state,losing more than 55,000 jobs combined in the past year. The resultingunemployment rate will likely impact UnitedHealth Group, which leadssmall-group enrollment in Florida, as well as Aetna and Blue Cross and BlueShield of Florida, which also have significant small-group enrollment.

"UnitedHealth Group announced this week that it anticipates enrollment inits commercial health plans for employers to drop by as many as 1.5 millionmembers in 2009," said Moore. "The reductions seen in Florida will likely bereplicated in markets across the country."

Florida providers have indicated they are seeing more uninsured patients,and more patients who are under-insured and cannot pay their copays.Similarly, brokers and insurers are seeing employers tighten their healthcarespending. With the increase in charity care, providers are looking for relieffrom insurers, which has resulted in insurers passing on higher costs toexisting clients.

Why Pharmaceutical Companies Need Health Plan Analysis

Health Plan Analysis identifies key health plan trends, allowingpharmaceutical companies to create comprehensive strategic plans and salesstrategies at state and local levels. Updated quarterly, Health Plan Analysisprovides a detailed look at plan design and financials, as well as informationabout mergers, legislation and other influencers driving healthcare in aparticular region.

About HealthLeaders-InterStudy

HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a Decision Resources, Inc. company, is theauthoritative source for managed care data, analysis and news. For moreinformation, please visit http://www.HL-ISY.com.

About Decision Resources, Inc.

Decision Resources, Inc. is a cohesive portfolio of companies that offersbest-in-class, high-value information and insights on important sectors of thehealthcare industry. Clients rely on this analysis and data to make informeddecisions. Please visit Decision Resources, Inc. athttp://www.DecisionResourcesInc.com.

All company, brand or product names contained in this document may betrademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.For more information, contact: Lisa Osgood Elizabeth Marshall HealthLeaders-InterStudy Decision Resources, Inc. 781-296-2606 781-296-2563 losgood@hl-isy.com emarshall@dresources.com

SOURCE HealthLeaders-InterStudy

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