Two Emergency Orders Issued in Advance of Hurricane Ike
Unsure of Hurricane Ike’s path, but certain of the destructive power of the category 4 storm, Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty issued two orders last week to assist consumers who may need to evacuate their homes. The first order, case number 97568-08-EO instructs health insurers and HMOs to waive time restrictions on prescription medication refills to enable consumers to refill prescriptions in advance. The second order, case number 97570- OS-EO, requires insurers and HMOs to extend by 15 days the open enrollment period for one-life groups, as prescribed by the Employee Health Care Access Act. Both orders cite to Governor Crist’s Executive Order of Sept. 5 declaring a state of emergency for all of Florida.
NEWS FROM THE FLORIDA OFFICE OF INSURANCE REGULATION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 5, 2008
Contact: Ed Domansky
Florida Insurance Commissioner Issues 2 Emergency Orders to Help Consumers Impacted by Hurricane Ike
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In an effort to help Florida consumers who may be impacted by Hurricane Ike, Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty today issued two emergency orders to all health insurers and health maintenance organizations (HMOs).
To assist consumers who may need to evacuate their homes, the first order instructs health insurers and HMOs to waive time restrictions on prescription medication refills to enable consumers to refill prescriptions in advance, if there are authorized refills remaining. The second order requires insurers and HMOs to extend by 15 days the open enrollment period for one-life groups, as prescribed by the Employee Health Care Access Act.
The order to waive the time restriction on prescription refills also requires the regulated entities to suspend the electronic “refill too soon” notices that appear on pharmacy computer systems, and to authorize payment to pharmacies for at least a 30-day supply of any prescription medication, regardless of the date upon which the prescription had most recently been filled by a pharmacist. The order does not expand the total number of refills allowed.
The Employee Health Care Access Act offers guaranteed enrollment for self-employed individuals into a health insurer’s standard or basic plan. The open enrollment period runs annually from Aug. 1 to Aug. 31, but as a result of the potential impact of Hurricane Ike, the enrollment period is being extended to run through Sept. 30.
These orders shall remain in effect for the duration of Gov. Crist’s Executive Order of Sept. 5 declaring a state of emergency for all of Florida. That order is in effect for 60 days, unless extended.
About the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) has primary responsibility for regulation, compliance and enforcement of statutes related to the business of insurance and the monitoring of industry markets. Business units within the Office are organized based on regulatory expertise and include the areas of life and health, property and casualty, specialty lines and other regulated insurance entities. It is within the Office that the mission of public protection is implemented through regulatory oversight of insurance company solvency, policy forms and rates, market conduct performance and new company entrants to the Florida market.
For more information about the Office, please visit www.floir.com. If you would like to review and compare homeowners insurance rates in Florida, go to www.shopandcomparerates.com.
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