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As number of uninsured grows, industry could cash in

One in four Floridians under age 65 have no health insurance, and the number of Floridians of all ages without health coverage has grown by 38 percent over the past eight years, to 3.8 million.

The troubling trend, part of a new report by the state, may prompt Florida to follow other states that have enacted sweeping health insurance plans.

Recommendations to be considered: a health insurance mandate for college and university students, expanding Florida's Healthy Kids program, a state-funded pilot program to subsidize insurance for low-income families, and expanding the use of stripped-down insurance plans that don't have the same level of coverage as other health insurance.

Most insurance experts contend that it is the cost of health insurance that causes most people to go without.

The logic behind making college students carry insurance: It increases the number of healthy people paying for insurance and spreads the ''risk'' and the cost among more people. That means more profit for companies, though it could drive up overall costs.

''College students would be people who are generally healthy,'' said Jim Bracher, executive director of the Florida Health Insurance Advisory Board.

Story here.