HealthLeaders-InterStudy, the leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that while commercial pharmacy benefit enrollment in Florida decreased by 10 percent between July 2008 and January 2009, commercial pharmacy benefit enrollment in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metropolitan statistical area (MSA) saw only a two percent decline over the same time period. In contrast, in Jacksonville, commercial pharmacy benefit enrollment declined by 8.5 percent between July 2008 and January 2009.
"Miami has a higher HMO penetration rate than Jacksonville, which may be why pharmacy benefit enrollment did not shift as much," said Josh Kelley, analyst with HealthLeaders-InterStudy. "HMOs, which are state-regulated, tend to offer more traditional coverage, and are less likely to drop pharmacy benefit coverage, whereas PPO plans may have a variety of reduced coverage options."
Despite an unemployment rate that grew by more than four percent in 2008, commercial medical benefit enrollment in Florida grew by nearly three percent between July 2008 and January 2009.
"Florida's strong individual insurance market helped health plans not only retain, but grow, their medical benefit enrollment business despite the down economy," said Sheri Sellmeyer, vice president, market analysis for HealthLeaders-InterStudy. "While individual insurance is traditionally more expensive to acquire than a group policy, insurers in Florida were marketing their individual products to respond to the state's shrinking group policy market before 2008."
Also contributing to medical benefit enrollment growth is medical underwriting allowed by the state for individual plans. Such underwriting lowers the individual policy price, so as group policies disappear for workers, more people can afford individual policies.
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