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Press Release

Florida Insurance Commissioner Issues 2 Emergency Orders to Help Consumers Impacted by Hurricane Ike
Monday, September 8, 2008
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. For more information about the Office, please visit www.floir.com or follow us on Twitter @FLOIR_comm.