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State Health Insurance Could Add Water Management Districts

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

State group health-insurance benefits, including prescription drug benefits, could be made available to Florida's five water-management districts under a measure approved Thursday by a Senate panel.

The Senate General Government Appropriations Subcommittee unanimously approved the bill (SB 364), filed by Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, after no discussion. Rep. MaryLynn Magar, R-Tequesta, has filed a House version (HB 177).

State law already allows district school boards and small counties and municipalities to participate in the state group health-insurance program and the state group prescription-drug program.

The bill could add the Northwest Florida Water Management District, the Suwannee River Water Management District, the St. Johns River Water Management District, the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the South Florida Water Management District.

Before tapping into the state group plan and prescription drug benefits, eligible government entities must solicit bids for insurance coverage that would provide benefits equal to the state plan. The state group program is self-insured, and the eligible entities are required to pay monthly premiums that cover costs of health-care services for their employees.

As of June 30, more than 367,000 people were enrolled in the state group program, with more than half of them enrolled in an HMO, according to state economists. Nearly 53 percent of the people covered were enrolled in a family plan, and the average family size was 3.1 members.