Legislation filed for consideration in the upcoming legislative session will implement reforms that will protect state workers and retirees from irresponsible cost spikes in their health insurance, according to State Treasurer John Kennedy.
"Premium costs are going up again in July for many members of the Office of Group Benefits. Some members are going to be paying 12 percent more," said Treasurer Kennedy. "This is a terrible tax increase for families, and it's only happening because the state recklessly drained OGB's trust fund."
The Office of Group Benefits provides health insurance to thousands of state workers, retirees and dependents. The state and members share in the cost of the health insurance. In order to lower its costs, the state dropped premium rates and used much of the OGB's $520 million in reserves to prop up the state budget. Now, plans are changing and premium rates are increasing.
House Bill 370 by state Reps. Chris Broadwater, John Bel Edwards and Rob Shadoin will create the Group Benefits Actuarial Committee to have final approval and authority over premium rate recommendations. Committee members will include Treasurer Kennedy, the commissioner of insurance and the legislative auditor.
"This legislation will force the state to follow sound principles in establishing premium rates. The Group Benefits Actuarial Committee will base its decisions on an annual actuarial study instead of budget holes," said Treasurer Kennedy. "This is the responsible way to run OGB."