Task Force Brings All Parties to the Table

MACo Associate Director Barbara Zektick testified in support with amendments of House Bill 1400, “State Employee and Retiree Health and Welfare Benefits Program –
Employees of Qualifying Organizations”, before the House Appropriations Committee on March 1, 2018.

This bill creates a Task Force to Study Cooperative Purchasing for Health Insurance, which will study models of cooperative purchasing of health insurance and recommend ways to transition county, municipality, and school board employees into the State’s health care plan. Counties are supportive of bringing everyone to the table, including the State, to discuss how to maximize value and ascertain what course of action will be appropriate for different jurisdictions. This allows all parties to discuss how to collectively pool resources and have a say in the recommendation eventually provided by the task force on how to tackle health care plan purchasing for stakeholders.

From MACo Testimony:

As introduced, the bill tasks the new body with evaluating cooperate purchasing models “in order to pool public employee health care purchasing by transitioning counties, municipal corporations, and county boards to the State health plan while maintaining a broad package of benefits and reasonable premiums[.]”

However, counties prefer that the task force retain the flexibility to look at cooperative purchasing options more comprehensively, and have enough leeway to recommend any attractive and promising options that may arise. Bringing local government employees into the State’s plan might well prove to be a preferred option.

However, it could also prove to be of better value to pool county employees with other county employees, or even all public safety employees with one other, while leaving clerical and administrative workers in another pool. This task force should retain broader authority to make recommendations, so that all parties involved can benefit from a comprehensive evaluation.”

For more on this and other legislation, follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.