The Senate Insurance Committee passed SB265, which would transfer oversight of the State Health Plan to the Office of State Treasurer from under the legislative umbrella. But it was a different version of the bill in the committee. The committee substitute would also require state employees to contribute to their premiums and increase the cost for covering family members. While an employee contributes nothing for individual premiums the same employee would have to pay an average of $22.85 by next year. The premiums for family coverage would also rise by over 10 percent in the next two years. At the same time the proposal would eliminate the more expensive plan for people who smoke or are overweight. They are now on a 70/30 plan but would be back on standard 80/20 plan if the measure is approved by the legislature. A representative of the State Employees Association told the committee while the organization didn’t like everything about the bill it could support it. It has long wanted the State Health Plan moved away from control by lawmakers. A couple of Democrats on the panel complained about higher premiums and repealing the smoking and overweight provisions but the bill was quickly passed by the committee and will move to the Senate Appropriations Committee before going to the floor. Republican Senator Tom Apodaca said it was important to move quickly on the bill because they were working with an April 1st deadline to give employees plenty adavane notice of the changes.
The Senate Appropriations Base Budget Committee will take up SB265 at 8:00 A.M. Wednesday.