How will the Affordable Care Act impact employers and employees in Florida?
» Find out here [Illustration: Jeff Papa]
The Affordable Care Act is poised to transform our health insurance system, encouraging more people to buy insurance. But as the full implementation date nears, health insurers are raising rates, and employers are scrambling to understand what it means for them. Today, we being a report on health insurance reform in Florida. First up:
It has been worse than a lost decade for Florida, economically speaking. Working families statewide have been losing ground since 2000 based on nearly every metric. We're working fewer hours and being paid less. Housing prices and college tuition costs are both up sharply, while median income of Florida households has fallen at a greater pace than the rest of the country. More form the Tampa Bay Times and the Orlando Sentinel.
The start of a new school year is punctuated by what's become a new financial norm for public universities: massive cuts in state funding that lead to rising tuition, cuts in enrollment, sporadic class schedules and staff layoffs. Despite some recent tuition freezes for the 2013-14 school year, public universities continue to suffer from significant spending cuts by their own states. [Source: USA Today]
For the fourth consecutive summer, teen employment has stayed anchored around record lows, prompting experts to fear that a generation of youth is likely to be economically stunted with lower earnings and opportunities in years ahead. The trend is all the more striking given that the overall unemployment rate has steadily dropped, to 7.4 percent in August. [Source: Miami Herald]
It happens at stores everywhere. A cashier asks you to donate a dollar or two to charity while you're standing at the cash register. Checkout charity, as it's sometimes called, has become big business for nonprofits and retailers. Charities love it because it raises money from the masses at little cost. Companies love it because it makes them look caring and generous, even if it comes on the backs of customers. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Brogan leaves Florida after long career in public service [Times/Herald]
Frank Brogan is leaving Florida at the end of this month, capping a long career in public service that includes stints as a classroom teacher, university president and lieutenant governor.
› Sarasota to host 2017 World Rowing Championships [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
What began as a mere construction borrow pit, Nathan Benderson Park has now officially been elevated to world-class status: the site of the 2017 World Rowing Championships, the sport's biggest splash outside of the Olympics.
» See also: After rowing win, time to shift gears
› 'Made in Brevard' makes debut [Florida Today]
A new 18-month program, called “Made in Brevard,” is aimed at getting more people in Brevard County and elsewhere to know about dozens of companies on the Space Coast. The program, initiated by the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, has the backing of all four chambers of commerce in Brevard.
› Veterans find opportunity in entrepreneurship [Miami Herald]
In the United States, veterans are great entrepreneurs. According to the U.S. Census, nearly one-in-10, or 2.4 million, small businesses are veteran-owned. These businesses employ almost 6 million Americans and generate more than a trillion dollars in revenue.
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› Theme parks ponder health insurance for part-time workers [Orlando Sentinel]
Orlando's big theme parks, whose businesses depend on cheap, flexible part-time and seasonal labor, are struggling with how — or even whether — to provide health insurance for those workers now that the federal government is requiring better plans.
› Sabbaticals benefit faculty, UF [Gainesville Sun]
UF supports professional development and faculty research by granting sabbaticals to eligible faculty members each year — full-time tenured faculty who have not had a sabbatical for six years as of June. The Office of the Provost's website says sabbaticals “contribute significantly to the quality and success of research universities” and increase “a faculty member's value to the university.”
› St. Petersburg creates master plan for downtown waterfront [Tampa Bay Times]
Beneath the overwhelming noise of debate over the future of the Pier and the Tampa Bay Rays, a project that could be even more important to the city's future is about to begin. On Sept. 9, almost two years after voters decided St. Petersburg needed a new downtown waterfront master plan, the city will host the first meeting to gather public input about one.
› Alzheimer's caregivers aren't prepared for storm season [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
As South Florida enters the heart of storm season, a new statewide report has found Alzheimer's caregivers are ill-prepared in the event of a natural disaster. The main concern: Alzheimer's patients are among the most vulnerable if a storm hits.