Florida’s Decision on Accepting Medicaid Funding Will Impact Employers

By Leah Barber-Heinz, Florida CHAIN

Accepting federal funding to extend Medicaid coverage to one million uninsured, working Floridians makes good sense for Florida’s businesses.

  • First, businesses rely on healthy workers to show up and keep their businesses going.  Workers rely on affordable coverage to keep themselves and their families healthy. Accepting federal funding to connect more uninsured workers with coverage will help build a healthier workforce in our state.
  • Second, many of the businesses that anchor the state’s service-based, tourist-dependent economy would be placed at a significant competitive disadvantage if Florida rejects the federal funding to offer Medicaid coverage to more uninsured Floridians.  An independent tax firm estimates the costs to Florida’s employers could range from $146 million to $219 million.

So how would Florida’s decision on the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid option impact employers?

The ACA requires employers with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees to offer minimal essential health care coverage to their employees working at least 30 hours per week. If they fail to offer coverage or the coverage they offer is unaffordable or inadequate, their employees are eligible for subsidized coverage in an online marketplace (exchange) and the employer must pay a shared responsibility penalty.

The Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy (FCFEP) recently released a report that explains how Florida employers would be impacted by the state’s decision to accept or reject the available federal Medicaid fund to extend Medicaid coverage. Large employers that do not provide meaningful, affordable coverage to its eligible low-wage employees could save as much as $3,000 for each such employee that enrolls in Medicaid instead of using Premium Tax Credits in the Exchange. This will only happen if Florida elects to expand Medicaid. Click here to read the complete FCFEP report on the savings to businesses if Florida accepts the federal Medicaid dollars.

The Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Florida and close to 100 other organizations in Florida are in support of accepting the Medicaid expansion dollars to extend health care coverage to a million working families. The Florida Chamber of Commerce has offered conditional support.

It’s time for more businesses and organizations to speak up in support of the Medicaid option so Florida’s employers and workers don’t end up losing out on cost- effective coverage options.