Florida Governor Backs Down on Limit to State Employee HMOs

Florida Gov. Rick Scott will allow some state workers to choose between two HMOs instead of one, backing down from a plan that would have restricted all workers to one HMO per county starting in Jan. 2012, according to a Miami Herald report.

Several HMOs contested Gov. Scott's plan, and one even contended that the decision would cost taxpayers more because the HMO provided better discounts than its competitors. Gov. Scott had said the move would save the state $400 million over the next two years.

The protests were dropped Monday by all but one HMO, and two days later, the state announced an agreement that would allow some state workers — those that work in Broward, Flagler, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Volusia — to choose between two organizations instead of one.

The new plan still forces 23,000 state workers to switch HMOs or change their coverage in many counties. There are more than 84,000 state workers enrolled in HMOs in Florida.

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