The Assembly today approved bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Declan O’Scanlon that could save New Jersey taxpayers more than $600 million. Endorsed by the Senate in March, the measure now moves to the Governor’s desk for consideration.
Senator O’Scanlon’s bill that could save New Jersey taxpayers more than $600 million by reforming teacher health benefits is headed to the Governor’s desk. (SenateNJ.com)
“This has been a long time coming,” said O’Scanlon (R-13). “It has taken almost 10 years of discussion and fighting, desk-pounding and compromise. The result is reform that we can all live with that will benefit property taxpayers, teachers, and our students. I’m hopeful the Governor will quickly sign it into law.”
The bill (S-2273/A-20) revises the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) to address skyrocketing health care costs.
Earlier this year, the Senate approved the bill representing a meeting of the minds reached between Senate President Steve Sweeney and Marie Blistan, president of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA).
The Assembly advanced the essential legislation today with amendments that were later cleared by the Senate.
It is estimated the reform could result in cost savings of more than $1 billion combined between New Jersey taxpayers and NJEA members. Teachers could save as much a total of $400 million.
“Our state has earned a national reputation for its outrageous property taxes and reining in the cost of health benefits for public workers is a keystone requirement to making New Jersey more affordable,” said O’Scanlon, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. “Property taxes are a No. 1 concern for many residents who are considering moving out of the state. The Legislature has more work ahead of us to do, but this is a significant step in the right direction.”
Under O’Scanlon’s bill, SEHBP would offer only three plans for medical and prescription coverage, and employees and retirees must contribute a percentage of health coverage costs.
The level of benefits in the three SEHBP plans, the Garden State Health Plan, the NJ Direct 10, and the NJ Direct 15 plan will remain unchanged until June 30, 2027.