Bring state employee health insurance costs in line with the U.S. average
"Bring our health insurance costs and mandates in line with the U.S. average."
Scott again asks some workers to pay more for health insurance
Updated: Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 | By Katie Sanders
Rick Scott's plan to run state government like a business meant layoffs and mandatory pension contributions for state employees in 2011.
In his 2012-13 budget recommendations, revealed Dec. 8, 2011, Scott identified another private sector trend he wants state employees to follow: paying more for their health insurance coverage.
"It's the only way to control it," he said of rising health care costs in a Dec. 21, 2011, interview with a Tallahassee radio station. "Typical of the state, they haven't had to do that very much, almost none."
Scott's 2012-13 budget includes a proposed savings of $46 million by increasing premiums for a sliver of state employees who pay less for premiums than rank-and-file employees. His recommendation would affect about 24,500 higher-ranking state officials, legislators and their aides, and bring their premiums in line with typically lower-paid employees. Individual premiums would increase from $8.34 to $50 a month, and family coverage -- which Scott pays for -- would go up from $30 a month to $180, according to the Department of Management Services.
For family coverage, that's an increase of $1,800 a year. It's not much to Scott, a multimillionaire, but for legislative aides and some lawmakers it's a big jump. And it takes two to tango. Scott needs the Legislature to approve his plan during its 2012 session, which starts Jan. 10. Lawmakers didn't take him up on the idea in 2011, but they did approve a plan to make all employees contribute 3 percent of their salaries to general revenue as a pension contribution (which is tied up in the courts, as of Jan. 3, 2011).
Scott promised to bring Florida's health insurance costs in line with the national average. In 2011, the national average of premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance was $5,429 for single coverage and $15,073 for family coverage, according to the annual survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research & Educational Trust. Employees contributed $921, or about $76 a month, for individual coverage and $4,129, or $344 a month, for family coverage.
Scott's 2012-13 budget inches closer to his goal of bringing health insurance costs in line with the national average. We rated this promise In the Works in February 2011, when Scott delivered his first budget recommendations. Scott is again pursuing reduced health insurance costs, though it remains to be seen if the Legislature will give it to him (and increase premiums for themselves and their staffers). So this promise stays In the Works.
Scott's 7-7-7 book to Turn Florida Around
Department of Management Services, "Strategic Health Plan Options for the State of Florida," Sept. 29, 2011
Scott interview with WFLA 100.7 FM Tallahassee, Dec. 21, 2011
"As Florida government costs are cut, some grumble," Fort Meyers News-Press, Dec. 18, 2011
"State workers' health care may be next target for cost savings," Ocala Star Banner, Nov. 13, 2011
"Scott budget has more money for schools, less money for Medicaid," Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Dec. 7, 2011
"Scott's budget boosts schools, hits hospitals," St. Petersburg Times, Dec. 8, 2011
Gov. Rick Scott's Communications Office, written responses to PolitiFact's questions about the Scott-O-Meter, Dec. 28, 2011
Email interview with Mary Leslie, Department of Management Services spokeswoman, Dec. 21, 2011
Rick Scott proposes capping health insurance benefits for employees, making some employees pay more
Updated: Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 | By Aaron Sharockman
Gov. Rick Scott came into office promising big changes for the state workforce.
He said he would cut 5 percent of the jobs currently on the state payroll. He said he would make employees, for the first time, contribute toward their own retirement. And he promised to alter health care plans for state employees to be more "in line" with the U.S. average.
As part of the budget, which Scott released on Feb. 7, 2011, he proposed to change the health insurance plans for state workers. The proposals must still be approved by the state Legislature, but Scott's plans include two major changes to how employees receive health insurance.
1). Making worker contributions equal for state employees. Currently, state Select Exempt Service (SES) and Senior Management Service (SMS) employees -- which includes legislative staff and lawmakers -- contribute far less to their health insurance than Career Service (CS) employees. SES and SMS workers, who account for about 20,000 people in the nearly 109,000 people in the State Personnel System, contribute $8.34 monthly for individual coverage; or $30 a month for family coverage. CS workers contribute $50 a month for an individual PPO or HMO plan, or $180 a month for family coverage. Scott proposed to increase the required premium contribution for state executive employees.
2). Capping the amount of health insurance coverage for a state employee at $5,000 per plan participant annually. That's the top end of what the state would cover, regardless of if you're an individual or if you have a family insurance plan. Currently, the cap varies depending on the participant and plan, but is between $6,000 and $15,000 per employee, state officials say.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance in 2010 are $5,049 for single coverage and $13,770 for family coverage. The average annual worker contributions are $899 for single coverage and $3,997 for family coverage, Kaiser reported as part of its annual survey. (That's about $75 a month for individuals and $330 a month for family coverage, more than state workers pay now.) Kaiser also reported that only 12 percent of covered workers are in plans with an annual limit on benefits for single coverage.
The changes would take affect starting July 1, 2011, if the Legislature goes along.
Ultimately, the Scott-O-Meter will have to decide whether the health care changes the governor pushes through the Legislature put government employees "in line" with the national average. But now that the conversation is started, we can move this promise to In the Works.
Rick Scott 2011-2012 proposed budget, released Feb. 7, 2011
Florida Office of Financial Regulation, state employee benefits, accessed Feb. 8, 2011
Department of Management Services, state workforce report, Dec. 8, 2010
Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010 health benefits survey, Feb. 7, 2011
News Service of Florida, Scott unveils budget filled with deep cuts and major change, Feb. 7, 2011
Department of Management Services, employee health care guide, accessed Feb. 8, 2011
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