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Lawmakers Mull Changes to State Worker Health Insurance

A proposal that would redesign the state group health insurance plan passed the Florida House Committee on Health and Human Services Thursday morning. 

The proposed redesign could affect the 360,000 current employees, retirees and their dependents that are covered by the program.

The changes, detailed in  PCB HHSC 15-02, are intended to provide more insurance coverage options for state employees since they currently only have a few different plans to choose from. 

State Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, chairs the House Committee on Health and Human Services.

He said state employees wouldn't see a decrease in benefits if the bill becomes law.

"So what this does is really allows our state employees the ability to shop around both for the procedures and for the way they want to receive all the benefits they currently get," he said.

With the current group insurance plan for state employees, most state workers pay monthly premiums of $50 for individual coverage or $180 for family coverage and can choose between an HMO and a PPO. 

Under the proposed House bill, premiums could vary depending on the plan and the coverage level selected by the state employee. If signed into law, the new program would eventually offer insurance plans to state workers based on a "metal" based tier system, comparable to the bronze, silver, gold and platinum plans offered on the federal health insurance marketplace at HealthCare.gov. 

Similar changes to the state group health insurance program were proposed during last year's session, but were rejected.

--Health News Florida intern Megan Milanese is part of WUSF Public Media in Tampa. Health News Florida receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2015 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Megan Milanese is an intern with WUSF’s health reporting project Health News Florida.