HHS Protects Florida Consumers From $145 Million Heist by Health Insurance Companies

Fla. Waiver Request Rejected by Obama Administration for Lack of Evidence

Washington, DC – The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today rejected a request from the state of Florida for a waiver from the medical loss ratio rule created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This action prevents consumers from being robbed of $145 million in health insurance rebates due under the health care law. The Florida request was the largest to be decided so far by HHS. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has estimated that families will recover rebates of up to $2 billion under the law.

On Oct. 26, Health Care for America Now (HCAN), the nation’s leading grassroots health care advocacy organization, submitted comments to HHS on the Florida application and asked for a public hearing on the matter. In its decision today, HHS said a hearing was unnecessary because of the analyses submitted by HCAN and other consumer groups.

HHS concluded that Florida officials failed to substantiate their claims that unless exceptions to the health care law were granted, consumers would be unable to access health insurance agents and brokers.

Here is a statement from HCAN Executive Director Ethan Rome on the HHS ruling on Florida’s waiver request:

“The administration sent a clear message to health insurance companies that their days of ripping off consumers are over. HHS also said that politically motivated, bogus requests by extremist governors to protect insurance company profits will not be tolerated. This decision highlights how much money families will save because of consumer protections in the health care law.

“While Republicans want to eliminate this rule and strip all the benefits of the ACA from America’s consumers, the Obama administration is putting $145 million back into consumers’ pockets. Just this morning, House Republicans held a hearing to publicize their false claims that the ACA is harming small businesses, when the truth is exactly the opposite.”

Health Care for America Now is the nation’s leading grassroots health care advocacy organization. HCAN led the fight over the past two years to win passage of health reform and to keep Congress from being steamrolled by corporate special interests.

Contact: Avram Goldstein 202-587-1634