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Floridians Pay a Hidden Tax of $1.4 Billion due to Uncompensated Care

Health Status

Did you know? Floridians pay a “hidden tax” of $1.4 billion due to uncompensated care. When this cost trickles down from hospitals and insurance companies to insured Floridians, it equates to between $1,700 to $2,200 for every insured admission.

As Florida’s business community is well aware, healthcare costs continue to have a significant impact on the bottom line. As costs continue to increase, Florida businesses struggle to prosper and the overall competitiveness of the business community diminishes. This week’s Scorecard Did You Know highlights the real cost of rising healthcare expenses to Florida businesses, more commonly known as  the healthcare cost shift.

Florida’s demand for healthcare services is typically much higher than other states due to a significantly higher population of retirees. Between now and 2030, Florida’s population is expected to increase by six million residents. Of these, the Florida Office of Economic and Data Research estimates as many as two-thirds will be aged 60 and older.

Calculating this cost shift is complex, but a range can be estimated. The first step is comparing total costs of service to the total charges, which then is allocated among the 2.4 million yearly hospital admissions in the state. The analysis leads to a range of cost-shift of $1,700 to $2,200 for each uninsured to insured admission and this estimate does not include the additional cost shifts present in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

The cost shift occurs when the costs for medical care for the uninsured are “passed” onto insured patients. When a doctor or hospital provides care to an uninsured party, the costs of those services have to come from somewhere. Insurance companies are ultimately forced to incorporate them into higher premiums, which are paid (the majority of the time) by companies providing benefits for their employees. To make Florida more attractive for business startups and relocations, healthcare costs must be slowed and show real decline, especially with respect to the cost shift. 

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Key Indicators

Home Foreclosures

As Florida continues to recover from the housing market collapse, trends in home foreclosures provide insight into Florida’s progress through the extended recovery...

Consumer Confidence

The Florida Consumer Confidence Index measures residents' perceptions of personal finances now compared to a year ago and expectations of U.S...

Population

Florida has the 4th largest population in the U.S., estimated at just over 19 million in April 2012...

Unemployment Rate

Florida has an labor force of over 9 million, ready to meet the workforce needs of businesses...