This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Fla. Must Offer Insurance Or Pay $300M Penalty

By GARY FINEOUT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) â¿¿ It turns out that the state of Florida has yet another major decision to make in the next few months when it comes to the federal health care overhaul.

The state may be forced to make sweeping changes to its health insurance program for state workers if it wants to avoid paying substantial penalties required under the law pushed by President Barack Obama.

Officials who run the health insurance program told legislators on Wednesday that Florida could be on the hook for a $300 million a year penalty unless it suddenly agrees to start covering part-time employees who work at least 30 hours a week.

Florida currently doesn't offer health care benefits to thousands of part-time employees because it's against state law. But under the federal health care overhaul, the state in January 2014 must start covering those part-timers or risk the fine.

Barbara Crosier, director of the Division of State Group Insurance, said the latest estimates show that there are 2,200 part-timers who work at least 30 hours in state agencies and another 4,700 part-time employees working at the state's public universities.

The cost to cover those part-time employees would be $23.5 million in the next year with the cost rising to nearly $49 million by 2015. But it's an expense that would come at the same time that the state health insurance program is projected to be in the red. The latest estimates project the program could have a deficit of more than $260 million two years from now.

Florida overall spends $1.9 billion a year on health insurance for its employees, their families and retirees. Most of that money comes from taxpayers and not from premiums or doctor visit co-payments.

Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, and chairman of a House panel reviewing the federal health care overhaul, said lawmakers could pay for the part-time workers by raising premiums or changing benefits offered to full-time state workers. That's been a contentious issue in recent years especially since state legislators and even Gov. Rick Scott currently pay relatively low premiums for health coverage.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,156.85 +24.88 0.15%
S&P 500 2,001.57 +2.59 0.13%
NASDAQ 4,562.1890 +9.43 0.21%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs