A Profile of Florida’s Low-Wage Uninsured Workers

The recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) includes new large financial incentives for states to extend health insurance coverage to low-wage workers and other adults earning less than $17,775 a year.¹ These incentives apply to regular spending in a state’s Medicaid program and offer a five-percentage point across the board increase in the federal share for a 24-month period after the state extends coverage. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that Florida’s budget would see a net gain of $1.8 billion over a two-year period if the state expanded Medicaid.² Approximately 789,800 uninsured nonelderly adults, or 33 percent of the state’s uninsured adult population, would gain health insurance.³

This fact sheet examines which workers and industries would benefit from expansion of Medicaid coverage.4 The top three industry sectors in Florida employing low-wage uninsured workers are hospitality, retail, and administrative/support/waste management services which together account for almost half of those working without insurance (see Table 1). The most common jobs for uninsured low-wage workers are cashiers, cooks, waiters and waitresses, retail salespersons, and construction workers (see Table 2). Restaurants and construction firms are the top two employers of these workers (26 percent).5

Endnotes

1 For more information on the provisions of the law, see E. Park and S. Corlette, “American Rescue Plan Act: Health Coverage Provisions Explained” (Washington DC: Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and Center on Health Insurance Reform, March 2021), available at https://ccf.georgetown.edu/2021/03/11/american-rescue-plan-act-health-coverage-provisions-explained/.
2 R. Rudowitz, B. Corallo, and R. Garfield, “New Incentive for States to Adopt the ACA Medicaid Expansion: Implications for State Spending” (Washington DC: Kaiser Family Foundation, March 2021), available at https://www.kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/new-incentive-for-states-to-adopt-the-aca-medicaid-expansion-implications-for-state-spending/.
3 Kaiser Family Foundation, “Who Could Medicaid Reach with Expansion in Florida?” available at https://files.kff.org/attachment/factsheet-medicaid-expansion-FL.
4 All data are derived by the authors from the American Community Survey (2019) most from the Public Use Microdata Sample; county data calculated from American Community Survey five-year (2015-2019) prepared tables.
5 Ibid.

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