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Liz Dudek demands financial info from insurance companies

Citing "grave concerns" that they could be giving hospitals more money than is legal under the state's Medicaid managed care program, Secretary of Health Care Administration Liz Dudek on Friday sent letters demanding information from health insurance companies.

A copy of the letter asks for proof by Aug. 1 that the contracts between hospitals and insurance companies are less than 120 percent of the Medicaid fees set by the state.

"However, the Agency has grave concerns that hospital contractual arrangements may have ballooned to unreasonable proportions and higher than what is allowed by state law," Dudek's letter says. "During the
rate setting process earlier this year; several plans reported that the average hospital contracting rates in some regions exceed 120% of the posted Medicaid rate."

In an email, Audrey Brown, president and CEO of the Florida Association of Health Plans, said there are reasons some contracts between insurance companies and hospitals could include the higher rates.

"The law pertains to NEW contracts, and some plan had multi- year contracts in place with hospitals and laws are not retroactive, therefore  the law should not impair current contracts," Brown wrote.

This is the latest move to request information on behalf of Gov. Rick Scott's Commission on Health Care and Hospital Funding, which he created in the midst of a debate over health care spending and Medicaid expansion this spring. Already, the commission has drawn the ire of hospitals that opted not to divulge proprietary information on their own finances.