It was the first and only state to require managed care for workers'' compensation claims for all employers, however Florida has now repealed the mandate, making managed care strictly a voluntary program.
The state decided to repeal the mandate last month after a Workers'' Compensation Research Institute study conducted late last year found that the administrative costs associated with medical cost containment are higher in Florida than in seven other high-volume states. At the same time, Florida''s comp costs were the third highest, at $4,709 per claim, in the nation.
In addition, litigation and its associated costs were on the rise in Florida due to inconsistencies in how the managed care programs were administered. Officials speculated that some of the problem can be attributed to the fact that provider network inadequacies in rural areas resulted in treatment delays while an out-of-network provider was selected. Likewise, required grievance procedures did not have any consistency standards.
Florida passed its managed care legislation in 1993 making the element a requirement. Compliance was not required until 1997, however many employers chose to implement the program early seeing as they received a 10 percent premium discount for complying.
by Melissa Martin