Fla. Must Offer Insurance or Pay $300m Penalty

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The state of Florida could be on the hook for a $300 million penalty unless it makes major changes to the program that provides health insurance to state workers.

Florida has thousands of part-time workers who will qualify for health insurance next year under the federal health care overhaul.

State law currently prohibits the state from offering health insurance coverage to those workers.

Florida legislators will have to decide what to do during the upcoming 2013 session. It would cost more than $40 million a year to start providing health insurance to part-timers.

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 extra workers by raising premiums or changing benefits offered to full-time state workers.

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