Florida intends to liquidate the assets of a Medicare Advantage insurer by the first of the year, ending the company's short and troubled history.
The Florida Department of Financial Services took over Florida Healthcare Plus last week and said the insurer will shut down by Jan. 1. Florida Healthcare Plus has been mired in controversy, including its recent run-in with the FBI.
In November, the FBI went after 11 people associated with Florida Healthcare Plus in an elaborate Medicare fraud scheme that bilked $25.2 million from the federal government. Included was Peter Hernandez, the insurer's former chief operating officer. The FBI said the defendants submitted phony enrollment applications to receive extra capitated payments from Medicare, claiming that some people lived in Florida when they actually lived in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
The company, founded in 2004, was not charged with wrongdoing. Only former employees and those involved in the scheme were.
Florida Healthcare Plus also attracted the ire of the CMS this past year. The company, which has about 9,000 Medicare Advantage members, had to pay a $113,200 fine in July after the CMS found it inappropriately denied or delayed care to enrollees and violated several rules associated with Medicare's Part D drug program. The CMS eventually sanctioned Florida Healthcare Plus (PDF) in September, saying the insurer could not enroll any new Medicare members until it rectified its errors.
Several other health insurers have faced similar fines and sanctions from the CMS this year as the agency tries to crack down on deficiencies in the private Medicare programs.
People who had coverage with Florida Healthcare Plus have until Feb. 28 to enroll in a new plan.
Follow Bob Herman on Twitter: @MHbherman