As state lawmakers confront changes mandated by the Affordable Care Act, Florida faces a potential penalty of more than $300 million if it doesn’t alter its health insurance provisions for state workers, The Associated Press reports.
There are between 160,000 and 170,000 individuals employed by the state, about 7,000 of whom are part-time workers and do not receive insurance coverage under current Florida law. The ACA mandates states offer health benefits to employees who work more than 30 hours per week. If Florida does not change legislation and offer other personal service (OPS) employees coverage, it faces a large fine.
Insuring OPS workers would cost Florida $44.3 million in 2014-2015, according to Tampa Bay Times. Most of these employees work at state universities.
Florida announced last year it would not create a statewide health benefits exchange and opted instead to have residents purchase healthcare on a federal exchange.
State legislators expect total ACA-related costs in 2014-2015 to reach $137 million if Florida avoids the fine by offering OPS employees coverage, the newspaper states. In addition, more public workers in general who have until now opted out of the state healthcare plan will likely enroll to avoid penalties associated with the individual mandate.