Report says health care premiums outpace income in Florida
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10/01/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

A new report released today shows that health care premiums rose an estimated 3-1/2 times faster than earnings for Florida’s workers in the last 7 years.

Ron Pollock with Families USA, a health care advocacy group in Washington, introduced the report, “Premiums vs. Paychecks: A growing burden for Florida’s Workers."

Pollock said earnings for Florida workers only went up by 20.2 percent during the same period. And he said the coverage for Floridians is "thinner" now – meaning fewer benefits with higher deductibles and higher co-payments and higher co-insurance.

Laura Goodhue, executive director of Florida CHAIN (The Community Health Action Information Network), says Florida consistently ranks as one of the unhealthiest in the country. According to the Commonwealth Fund, Florida rank dead last in terms of child health care coverage, she said.

Bowen Richards is an electrician who lives in Cocoa in Brevard County. He suffers from diabetes; because he couldn’t afford his deductible, his inattention to his health care ultimately led to him having his toe amputated. Now he’s filed for bankruptcy.

Pollack said Florida’s premium increases were slightly below the national average of 78.3 percent rise over seven years, with a 14.5 percent increase in pay during that period.

Families USA says its statistics came from several federal agencies. To read the report, go to familiesusa.org.

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