Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida leaders who will decide Medicaid expansion get bargain on insurance

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott and state legislators will soon decide whether Florida should extend health insurance coverage to nearly 1 million residents, and those officials all get their plans from the state, many paying less than state workers.

Scott, as well as the three other Republican members of the Cabinet, and nearly all state lawmakers are enrolled in Florida's health insurance plan. For Scott, the cost to cover him and his wife is less than $400 a year. A total of 107 out of 120 members of the Florida House pay the same or less for coverage.

The 40 members of the Florida Senate also are covered by the state, but this month they started paying the same as rank-and-file career service employees under a proposal pushed by Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart. Career service workers pay $50 a month for individual coverage and $180 a month for family coverage.

"The people who work here at night and clean our offices are valuable people," said Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville. "We shouldn't be paying less for our health insurance while they are paying more."

Scott and legislative leaders will decide over the next few months whether the state implements key portions of the Affordable Care Act.

One of the biggest decisions will be whether to expand Medicaid coverage to roughly 900,000 Floridians who are just above the poverty line. Florida has one of the highest uninsured rates in the nation, according to U.S. census data. But Scott, a vocal critic of the federal legislation, has raised questions about the potential cost of the Medicaid expansion.

House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, echoed the governor and said he's not sure the federal government will keep its promise to pick up most of the share of Medicaid expansion.

Another key decision related to the Affordable Care Act will be whether the state revamps its own health insurance program to start spending money to cover part-time employees. The state would have to pay a $300 million penalty if it does not cover these workers. Florida already spends $1.9 billion to cover roughly 170,000 state workers, university employees and retirees. Most of the money comes from taxpayers, not premiums paid by employees.

Scott, who has turned down a salary while serving as governor, has defended the decision to enroll in the state insurance plan by noting that it's the same coverage offered to roughly 24,000 state employees in management positions. He has recommended that all state employees pay the same.

Florida leaders who will decide Medicaid expansion get bargain on insurance 01/28/13 [Last modified: Monday, January 28, 2013 9:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Mulberry teens, 15 and 18, killed when cars collide at Plant City intersection

    Accidents

    MULBERRY — The local high school has an enrollment of 1,000 but to some it feels like a tight-knit family. Many of Mulberry High School's students have spent all of their school days within the city limits, said principal Michael Young.

    Pepe Salgado, 18, was killed Friday along with his sister Frinzi Salgado-Diaz, 15, in a car crash in Plant City. They were passengers in a car driven by their cousin Edilberto Nava-Marcos, 18, who was transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center and was listed in critical condition. All three lived in Mulberry and attended Mulberry High School. [Polk County School District]
  2. Assisted living facility owner accused of sexually assaulting employee in Pinellas

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — An assisted living facility owner was arrested Thursday on charges that he sexually assaulted an employee, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.

  3. Find serenity at Grand Cayman Island's Cemetery Beach

    Travel

    GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND

    Hey, cruisers, if you've been to Hell and back, snuggled with the stingrays and taken photos with the turtles at the Cayman Turtle Centre, you might be looking for something different on your next trip. (Guilty!)

    Good snorkeling can be found off shore at Cemetery Beach in Grand Cayman.
  4. Editorial: Honoring a solemn sacrifice

    Editorials

    For a nation still slogging away in Afghanistan, Iraq and other war zones across the globe, this Memorial Day holiday marks the latest commemoration of sacrifice abroad, of uncertainty over America's role in securing the globe and of the country's great debt to its military families. The peace of yesterday is almost …

  5. Four Brandon middle school students face child porn charges related to sex video

    Crime

    BRANDON — Four Burns Middle School students, ages 12 to 14, have been arrested on child pornography charges after one secretly recorded a girl in a sex act and the others posted it online, authorities said Friday.