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Health News Florida

House Pushes Changes In Employee Health Insurance

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In an issue long backed by Republican leaders, the House on Thursday likely will approve a proposal (HB 7007) that would revamp the health-insurance program for state employees.

Health Care Appropriations Chairman Jason Brodeur, a Sanford Republican who is sponsoring the bill, said it is aimed at providing more health-care choices to state employees and described it as a "modernization." In part, the bill would lead to employees choosing among four different levels of benefits beginning in 2020.

The bill would provide an incentive for employees to choose coverage that would cost less than the amount of money the state contributes for premiums. In those situations, the balance of the money would go to employees for such things as salary increases or purchasing additional health benefits.

Brodeur and other House Republican leaders have pushed such proposals in recent years but have been unable to get Senate support. A Senate version (SB 900) of this year's bill has been filed but has not been heard in committees.

The House took up Brodeur's bill Wednesday and positioned it for a vote. Some Democrats raised concerns about the bill, including whether it could eventually lead to reduced money and benefits in the future. Brodeur said the bill is not designed to address costs.