Obama administration rejects Florida's request for health law waiver

The Obama administration on Thursday rejected Florida's request for a waiver from Democrats' healthcare law.

Florida is the fifth state where insurers have been denied an exemption from the medical loss ratio provision that requires them to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on medical care or give rebates to consumers. Florida had asked for an MLR adjustment allowing insurers to meet lower thresholds of 68 percent in 2011, 72 percent in 2012 and 76 percent in 2013.

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"We have determined that the evidence presented does not establish a reasonable likelihood that the application of the 80 percent MLR standard will destabilize the Florida individual market," says the rejection letter from the Department of Health and Human Services. "Consequently, we have determined not to adjust the MLR standard in the Florida individual market and, thereby, ensure that consumers receive the full benefit of this provision of the Affordable Care Act."

HHS turned down similar requests from Indiana and Louisiana last month, and from North Dakota and Delaware before that. The department has so far granted MLR adjustments to six states: Maine, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Nevada, Iowa and Georgia.

Waiver requests from six other states — Kansas, Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Wisconsin — are pending.

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