Governor Scott getting low-cost health insurance from Florida

Aug 11, 2011

The following article was published in Florida Capital News on August 11, 2011:

Gov. Scott getting low-cost health insurance from Fla.

Governor Rick Scott, a critic of the federal health care overhaul, is paying less than $400 a year for health insurance for himself and his wife.

While Scott is accepting no salary for his job as governor, the multimillionaire and former hospital chain executive chose to enroll in the taxpayer-subsidized health insurance plan offered by the state of Florida.

Scott is among nearly 32,000 people in state government who pay relatively low health insurance premiums. It’s a perk that is available to high-ranking state officials, including those in top management at all state agencies. Nearly all 160 state legislators are also enrolled in the program that costs just $8.34 a month for individual coverage and $30 a month for family coverage.

Brian Burgess, a spokesman for Scott, confirmed the governor and his wife are enrolled in the state health insurance plan, but refused to discuss why Scott signed up. He called the governor’s health care coverage “private matters.”

The health insurance coverage provided to Scott used to be free for top state officials until 2010. Rank-and-file state workers pay $50 a month for individual coverage and $180 a month for family coverage. Married couples working in state government also pay the same amount as Scott and legislators.

Florida has one of the highest uninsured rates in the nation, according to data released last year by the U.S. Census. Scott and other Republicans have been very critical of the health care overhaul signed by President Barack Obama that is intended to increase the number of Americans with access to health insurance. Before he ran for governor, Scott ran a group called Conservatives for Patients’ Rights that ran television ads criticizing the health care overhaul.

Florida is one of more than 20 states suing to have the health care overhaul declared unconstitutional. In the last few months Republicans in Florida have rejected millions in federal aid that is tied to the health care overhaul.

Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston, says that Scott is “entitled” to enroll in the state health insurance plan. But she said he shouldn’t be fighting to keep other Floridians from getting access to health insurance coverage.

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