I’ve written briefly about the problems with teacher health insurance in Arkansas in the past here, here, and here. Last fall, Governor Beebe called a special session in order to find a solution to the projected 50% increase in premiums for teachers that was slated to begin this past January. A short-term solution was implemented, and public school employees saw a much smaller premium increase than originally feared. For the most part, this was only a one-year solution, and again teachers and other public school employees were scheduled to face a premium increase as high as 35% for the 2015 plan year.
Governor Beebe has called a second special session, scheduled to begin today, in order to find a more long-term solution. A legislative task force has been at work on this issue, and they’ve found a solution that will reduce the 35% premium increase to an average of only 3%. This is only an average. Some public school employees may see an increase in premiums of more than 3%, while some may see their premiums decrease. In order to accomplish this, the task force is proposing:
- Transferring $4.6 million per year from school district funding to the public school employee health insurance plan;
- Making part-time public school employees ineligible for coverage;
- Making spouses of public school and state employees ineligible for coverage if they are offered health insurance through their employment; and
- Limiting coverage for certain weight loss procedures.
No bills have been filed as of the time of this original post, but I’ll update here as they are.
As expected, all bills passed with flying colors. Here are the bills that have been submitted to the Governor for signature: