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Legislators Back Leaving Arkansas Schools’ Premiums Alone

by Michael R. Wickline at Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

July 21, 2021

A legislative panel on Tuesday endorsed the state Board of Finance’s recommendations for no changes in premiums next year for employees and retirees in the state’s health insurance plan for public schools.

The committee also backed the board’s recommendations to cut a wellness credit for current employees and create a contribution for employees who don’t participate in the wellness credit.

With no debate or questions, the Legislative Council’s personnel subcommittee voted to recommend that the full council on Friday approve the finance board’s recommendations for changes next year to the public school health insurance plan. The plan covers more than 100,000 people.

“It sounds to me like the emails worked,” the subcommittee co-chairman, Rep. David Hillman, R-Almyra, told his fellow lawmakers.

Afterward, Hillman said he received a few hundred emails from teachers who said they wanted no rate increase next year.

“We sort of did what they wanted,” he said.

The finance board’s recommendations for next year call for cutting the wellness credit for employees from $50 to $25 a month and creating a $25 monthly contribution for non-participants in the wellness program. The board also called for requiring employees to visit their primary care doctors for the wellness credit next year.

On July 7, the finance board voted to approve these recommendations to the Legislative Council. The board was operating under Act 1004 of 2021, which dissolved the State and Public School Life and Health Insurance Board and temporarily transferred its duties to the Board of Finance.

Read the full article HERE.

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