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The legislation would require the Employee Retirement System (ERS) of Texas to establish a voluntary state consumer-directed health plan (CDHP) for Group Benefits Program (GBP) participants and the GBP participants' dependents. As part of the CDHP, the ERS board of trustees would administer and create health savings accounts (HSAs) and finance a self-funded high deductible health plan (HDHP). The HSAs would qualify for appropriate federal tax exemptions.
For a plan enrollee, the state would be required to contribute annually to a HDHP the amount that is necessary to pay the cost of coverage under the HDHP and does not exceed the amount the state annually contributes for a full-time or part-time employee who is covered by the basic coverage.
For a plan enrollee's dependent, the state would be required to contribute annually to the HDHP the same percentage of the cost of coverage under the HDHP as the state annually contributes for dependent coverage in the basic coverage.
The bill directs the state to contribute the difference, if any, between the full state contribution for HealthSelect and the coverage cost of the HDHP, to a health savings account.
Plan enrollees would be required to contribute an amount towards their HDHP that exceeds the state contribution amount. Also, a plan enrollee would be authorized to contribute any amount permissible under federal law to their HSA in addition to the state contribution.
The bill would also require ERS to conduct a study on the implementation of the consumer-directed health plan, with the results of the study reported to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, and all members of the legislature by January 1, 2020.
The bill was amended on the House floor. We continue to support HB 966.
The second chamber sponsors are Senators Hancock and Campbell.
Original chamber recommendation below:
This legislation expands the list of available health care benefit plan options for state employees. Offering a voluntary state consumer-directed health plan (CDHP) fosters individual liberty and enables the potential for future cost-savings on behalf of employees and the state. The bill also promotes personal responsibility by requiring state employees to fund a portion of their HDHP and allowing them to dedicate an amount to their HSA.
We support HB 966 because it will help control, and ultimately reduce, state health care costs and preserve fiscal responsibility.
For an extensive and in-depth policy analysis of this bill, interested parties may wish to read the report provided by the Texas Public Policy Foundation which testified in support of this legislation. Click here to view the report by TPPF's John Davidson.