The Sunshine State must make a number of vital healthcare reform decisions over the next few months.
Florida is facing an important string of health insurance decisions over the next few months in order to comply with the requirements of the federal healthcare reforms, including providing coverage to some of its part time state workers or face fines $300 million per year.
This could require the state to make sweeping changes to this sector of its industry.
The federal law would require the state to pay a stiff penalty if it does not make the necessary efforts to comply with the healthcare reform law. At the top of this list is a requirement that was pointed out to the state’s legislators by the federal officials who run the health insurance program. This regulation says that Florida would be forced to pay a penalty of $300 million per year unless it agrees to begin providing coverage for its part time workers who put in a minimum of 30 hours every week.
At the moment, part time state workers in Florida do not receive health insurance benefits.
The reason that these employees are not currently provided with health insurance coverage is that it is against the law of the state. However, according to the new federal law, by January 2014, Florida must begin covering those workers or they will have to pay the fine, instead.
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The Division of State Group Insurance director, Barbara Crosier, explained that the most recent estimates in Florida indicate that there are around 2,200 part time workers who clock at least 30 hours per week in state agencies, as well as an additional 4,700 part timers who work at the public universities.
In order to cover the health insurance benefits for the eligible part time employees, the state will face a new cost of $23.5 million within the next year. By 2015, it has been estimated that this expense will have increased to almost $49 million. This is an added cost that may occur at the same time that Florida’s healthcare plan program will already be in the red – if current projections are accurate. In fact, the current estimates show that the program may be running at a deficit of over $260 million in two years’ time.