Tallahassee, FL – Heath insurance plans in Florida may cause conflict within small businesses because of Obamacare. During the recent elections, Florida voters got to decide whether to amend the Florida constitution to add a stipulation that blocked the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that all US Citizens be required to purchase health insurance plans. The current Florida Health Choices program is intended to help small businesses afford health insurance plans for employees, but federal regulations may change all that.
According to The Daytona Beach News-Journal, the Federal Affordable Care Act requires operation of health insurance exchanges in each state starting in January 2014. The new exchanges will be similar in concept to Florida Health Choices, which is scheduled to begin providing health insurance plans in several months, but there are more restrictions on the insurance coverage that can be sold through the exchanges. This means that some employees who currently have health insurance plans through Florida Health Choices could wind up having to pay penalties required by federal law.
“Eventually, down the road, we’re going to have to sell what the federal government wants to sell,” said Senator Aaron Bean (R-FL), chairman of Florida Health Choices.
The state-run health insurance exchanges are intended to help qualified Americans whose income is low enough to qualify for subsidies. Florida’s state government has not decided whether to start an exchange managed by them or to allow the federal government to run the exchange in Florida or to form a state-federal partnership.
One possibility that has been mentioned is for Florida Health Choices to eventually operate the exchange. Small businesses will likely have the choice of pushing all their employees into state exchanges, where experts have projected the coverage will be less than current corporate health benefits plans, or they will be forced to shift the additional cost to their customers by raising prices. This decision comes at a time when Democrats are pushing for raising the top marginal tax rate, which will affect 48 percent of all small businesses in the United States.
How do you think giving health insurance plans to all employees should be handled by state governments and small businesses?