Florida runs afoul of regulators due to health insurance program
The State of Florida has run afoul of federal insurance regulators and is facing serious penalties under the federal health care law. The state’s health insurance program for public workers is the subject of the problem. Those responsible for the health insurance program warned that Florida could be liable for penalties, and federal regulators have taken note of the issue. If the Florida Legislature does not take action within the next few months, the state may be forced to brace for a major financial setback.
Part-time workers not offered coverage options by the state
According to the health care law, states must offer part-time employees that work at least 30-hours a week with health insurance coverage. The state currently does not offer these benefits to the thousands of people that are in its employ. State law prohibits these part-time employees from receiving health insurance benefits from the state, but the federal law takes precedence.
Coverage for part-time workers could cost $23 million over the next year
If Florida cannot comply with the federal law, it will be penalized $300 million every year until the issue is resolved. The cost to cover these part-time workers, as estimated by the Florida Division of State Group Insurance, will cost approximately $23 million over the next year. These costs are expected to reach nearly $50 million by 2015. Within the next two years, the program, if forced to cover part-time workers, could face a deficit of more than $260 million.
Florida lawmakers must act quickly to avoid penalties
Florida currently spends nearly $2 billion on health insurance coverage for its employees and their dependents, as well as retirees. The state is faced with a significant problem that it has to address quickly in order to avoid federal penalties. If lawmakers cannot find a solution, or refuse to offer coverage to part-time workers, the state will have to manage a penalty that could do more financial damage than the Florida health insurance program will do.