By Fraser Cobbe
Orange County Medical Society/Seminole County Medical Society
The Orange and Seminole County Medical Societies recently announced the pursuit of a program designed to return control over escalating health insurance premiums for the physicians they represent. The initiative is modeled after a successful program already in operation in ten counties across the state, including one endorsed by the Lake/Sumter County Medical Society.
The success of those programs is impressive. The Florida Medical Association (FMA), one of the chief architects of the initiative, recently announced in a press release that those counties participating have already delivered $2.3 million in shared profits from their co-ops to their physician members.
The ramifications of escalating overhead costs and reduced reimbursement have been well documented and contribute significantly to the loss of independent practicing physicians. Health insurance is often one of the most significant overhead costs for any business and physician practices are not immune to those pressures. The attraction of the program being proposed by the County Societies is to provide an avenue to give physicians back some level of control over annual fluctuations in premiums.
According to the Florida Medical Association, "under the co-op's agreement with Florida Blue, physicians have no risk for excessive claims and they share in underwriting surplus profits, significantly reducing the burden of any rate increases in the future. At a time when many doctors are concerned about rising operational costs -- including employee health coverage -- co-op participants are reaping the benefits of a group insurance plan that rewards the physicians and their families, as well as practice employees and their covered dependents."
The Orange and Seminole County Medical Societies are hosting a series of exploratory meetings over the next week. Medical practice administrators interested in learning more about the program or attending an event should contact the OCMS office, firstname.lastname@example.org.