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Feds again deny Florida flexibility on health care act provision

Despite pleas from dozens of insurance agents and brokers who say a provision of the health care reform act is destroying their livelihoods, the federal government has reconfirmed its decision not to grant Florida flexibilty.

The state asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to reconsider it's December ruling that denied the state's request for a waiver. The new regulation, called the medical loss ratio provision, mandates that insurers spend at least 80 percent of individual health plan premiums on direct medical care. To strengthen the state's case, the Office of Insurance Regulation submitted letters on Jan. 6 from about 30 people who said insurers were slashing commissions and reducing their workforce to comply with the law.

Yesterday, the federal government confirmed its decision to deny the state's request, saying there was no proof the new regulation would destabilize the insurance market and even companies who supported the state's application for flexiblity were not in jeopardy of leaving Florida. Some insurers will have to issue rebates to customers this year for not meeting the 80 percent requirement in 2011.