State lawmakers are taking another crack at crafting legislation to help plug the gaping budget hole in the State Health Plan (SHP). The SHP is the insurance coverage for more than 660,000 state employees, retirees and dependents. Active employees and retirees are provided enrollment into the plan without having to pay anything for their premiums – the taxpayers pick up the tab.
The SHP is facing a budget hole estimated at more than half a billion dollars over the next two budget years – that is in addition to the billions of taxpayer dollars already being spent to provide this benefit. Perdue vetoed a previous bill that was approved by the General Assembly that would have asked state employees and retirees to contribute a small amount toward the premiums for their enrollment in the SHP (along with some minor changes to co-pays and deductibles).
What’s different from the bill the governor vetoed is a reduction in the premium for Medicare-eligible retirees from $16.54 to $10 a month. That would be paid for by an increase in co-payments for generic drugs from $10 to $12. The governor’s proposed budget set the drug co-pay at $15.
It is still unclear whether Perdue will sign this new bill into law.
FYI – Civitas polled this issue back in 2009, with respondents saying by nearly a 2-to-1 margin that state employees should contribute toward their premiums in order to fix the State Health Plan’s budget, rather than using more taxpayer funds.