Wednesday, May 25, 2011

State Employee Insurance Opt-out Bill Signed

Legislation that could save millions by reducing taxpayer expenditures on lawmakers’ health insurance policies has been signed into law.

House Bill 1062, by Rep. Dustin Roberts, allows legislators and other state employees to opt out of state-funded insurance coverage if they already have policies through the private sector.

“When I ran for office, I promised to cut government waste, and I am proud to have authored a law that eliminates an expensive and unnecessary legislative perk,” said Roberts, R-Durant. “To continue wasting millions on insurance coverage for politicians and state employees who do not need it was inexcusable at a time when important programs, such as schools and roads, faced major cuts.”

In addition to legislators with private-sector jobs, state employees who have coverage through a spouse’s private-sector insurance coverage could also take advantage of the new law.

It is expected that 2 percent to 5 percent of state employees will opt out of state-funded coverage, ultimately saving $1.5 million to $3.5 million annually.

House Bill 1062 passed the House on an 86-9 vote and gained final passage in the Senate on a 46-0 vote before being signed into law this week.

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