• From: "Woolverton, Stacia" <Stacia.Woolverton@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 09:24:47 -0500

FYI.  State Employees Be Ware of this.


Capitol News

Originally published February 17, 2011


Scott's health insurance proposal would hit state workers' wallets hard

'No free ride here,' state workers told


By Paul Flemming

Florida Capital Bureau



Email to a friend


Buy this photo


List of 1 items

* Scott rejects $2.3 billion for high-speed rail

list end


State employees - seven years without a general pay raise, layoffs
looming and a separate proposal to require them to pay 5 percent of
their salaries into pensions - also face the possibility of a massive
change to their health benefits.


Now, the state pays most of the health-insurance premiums for more than
140,000 active employees, including employees at agencies, universities
and courts.  Gov. Rick Scott wants to reduce the premium paid by the
state starting in 2013.




By capping state subsidies for health insurance at $5,000 a year, as
Scott proposes, the state would save $330 million a year.


For employees - more than 35,000 retirees also buy into the insurance
plan themselves - it would cost thousands more a year to keep the same
coverage they and their families now have. Organized labor and lawmakers
alike said lower-cost options with less coverage would be offered.


But, to keep current coverage:


60,101 rank-and-file state employees who insure their families would pay
$9,920 a year for the same coverage with the state-contribution cap in
place. Those employees pay $2,160 now. The state picks up $12,760 a year
in premiums as it is.


47,597 of those same Career Service workers who now have single coverage
would pay $1,598 a year in a capped system. Those employees pay $600


18,804 exempt employees and senior managers would pay $9,916 for family
coverage with a cap. They pay $360 now.


7,353 exempt and senior employees with policies only for themselves
would pay $1,598 a year with a cap. Now, they pay $100 a year.


On Wednesday, state senators heard details of what Scott proposes.


The Senate's budget chief said it's only fair to bring state-worker
benefits more in line with what's offered in the private sector. Sen. JD
Alexander, a Lake Wales Republican, also said employee-benefit costs
must be judged in the context of cuts to all other state services such
as education and health care for the poor.


"There's no free ride here," Alexander said.


Organized labor recognizes change is coming.


"There have to be changes to the state group insurance because the
current design of the plan is not viable and there have been changes in
the market and other things," said Doug Martin, communications director
for the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees
Florida Council. "However, we want a core set of benefits which is


Alexander said with the lower state subsidies he'd expect state
employees to consider less coverage.


"I would expect employees would want to see offerings that were not as
robust," Alexander said. They would probably take a much harder look at
an (health savings account) plan."


The AFSCME Florida Council also would want more choices for coverage,
with lower-cost, less cooperage options, if a cap is implemented.


"They can't mandate a platinum plan and then pay us in pewter," Martin


More alternatives are likely.


"With the Legislature's approval, (the Department of Management
Services) would create additional options so employees could buy as much
coverage as they needed," said Michelle Robletto, director of the
state's Division of Group Insurance. "We would expect under a different
plan offerings to put more focus on consumer plans, high-deductible


Martin said the union is set to release some studies in the coming
weeks. It's been preparing intensely for a year as changes to
health-insurance coverage became imminent.


He said immediate savings in a tight budget year shouldn't overshadow
the affect on recruitment and retention down the line or fail to
consider consequences.


There are also proposals to make premiums for early retirees actuarially
appropriate, though with limits on how fast the cost would go up. Still,
it poses possible problems for the state if they can't afford the hikes.


"It's probably not in the state's interests to have thousands of
retirees go on Medicaid," Martin said. "It may be saving in one part of
the budget and shifting to another part of the budget."



I hope this information is helpful to you.

Stacia Woolverton, Executive Assistant 

The Governor's Commission on Disabilities

4030 Esplanade Way, Suite 260

Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0950

Phone: (850) 487-3423

Fax: (850) 414-8908

Email: Stacia.Woolverton@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Website: http://www.fldisabilityinfo.com

We serve those who serve Florida.

P Before printing, please think about the environment


For information regarding the Florida Discount Drug Card visit:
www.FloridaDiscountDrugCard.com <http://www.FloridaDiscountDrugCard.com>

For information on disaster plans, please visit the Florida Department
of Emergency Management's Web site at www.floridadisaster.org
<http://www.floridadisaster.org> .


Other related posts: