Fla. must offer part-time employees insurance

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Members of a Florida House panel have reluctantly said they want to extend health coverage to part-time employees instead of paying a roughly $300 million fine.

Residents and businesses are required to purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act or face a fine. Florida is also included in that mandate. State officials estimate it will cost about $36 million to cover part-time employees who work an average of 30-hours per week.

Many of the state's part-time employees work in the health sector and in the university system. The state is also facing a $50 million increase in order to make its health plan for full-time employees comply with the federal health law.

Some lawmakers suggested offering part-time workers scaled-down benefits as a way to save money.

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