Florida Children Will Have To Switch HMOs, Perhaps Physicians

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An estimated 51,000 children in the Florida Healthy Kids program will have to switch HMOs and possibly physicians starting on Oct. 1, Florida Health News reports. The change comes after the program for the first time asked HMOs across the state to submit bids in all 67 Florida counties.

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Jennifer Kiser Lloyd, chief external officer for the program, said the state in August mailed letters to the families of the 51,000 affected children alerting them of the change. Rich Robleto, executive director of Florida Healthy Kids, said, "We are trying to make sure we have the bet HMOs in all of our areas."

The change will not affect the types of benefits provided, but it could affect access to physicians, prescription drug benefits and prior authorization policies. To help prevent problems, Florida Healthy Kids requires incoming HMOs to coordinate care with outgoing providers. In addition, Lloyd said HMOs have been encouraged to share information on long-standing prior authorizations and referrals. She said that the top issue for families will be whether their primary care physicians are in the new HMO network but added, "There is a great deal of overlap" (Sexton, Florida Health News, 9/16).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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