HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that the small-group health insurance market grew 5 percent in Florida through the second quarter of 2008. According to the latest Florida Health Plan Analysis, this growth trend likely will not be sustained as the economy slows and healthcare spending decreases.

"Small-group coverage is critical in Florida because small businesses represent about 90 percent of business in the state. While through the first half of the year, the Florida small-group insurance market remained resilient, this success is not likely to continue," said Roy Moore, analyst with HealthLeaders-InterStudy. "Florida's economy depends heavily on construction and tourism, which are obviously impacted by the economic downturn. In response, some employers are shifting more cost to the employee, while other companies are eliminating coverage altogether."

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

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

"UnitedHealth Group announced this week that it anticipates enrollment in its commercial health plans for employers to drop by as many as 1.5 million members in 2009," said Moore. "The reductions seen in Florida will likely be replicated 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 healthcare spending. With the increase in charity care, providers are looking for relief from insurers, which has resulted in insurers passing on higher costs to existing clients.

Why Pharmaceutical Companies Need Health Plan Analysis

Health Plan Analysis identifies key health plan trends, allowing pharmaceutical companies to create comprehensive strategic plans and sales strategies at state and local levels. Updated quarterly, Health Plan Analysis provides a detailed look at plan design and financials, as well as information about mergers, legislation and other influencers driving healthcare in a particular region.

About HealthLeaders-InterStudy

HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a Decision Resources, Inc. company, is the authoritative source for managed care data, analysis and news. For more information, please visit http://www.hl-isy.com/.

About Decision Resources, Inc.

Decision Resources, Inc. is a cohesive portfolio of companies that offers best-in-class, high-value information and insights on important sectors of the healthcare industry. Clients rely on this analysis and data to make informed decisions. Please visit Decision Resources, Inc. at http://www.decisionresourcesinc.com/.

All company, brand or product names contained in this document may be trademarks 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 

First Call Analyst:
FCMN Contact:

SOURCE: HealthLeaders-InterStudy

CONTACT: Lisa Osgood of HealthLeaders-InterStudy, +1-781-296-2606,
losgood@hl-isy.com; or Elizabeth Marshall of Decision Resources, Inc.,
+1-781-296-2563, emarshall@dresources.com

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