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No school employee insurance pool (vetoed)

Published (5/30/2008)
By Patty Ostberg
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An attempt at creating a statewide insurance pool for school employees fell victim to the governor’s veto pen.

Sponsored by Rep. Thomas Huntley (DFL-Duluth) and Sen. Don Betzold (DFL-Fridley), the bill would have established a 14-member board to design a health insurance pool for all school employees.

House Majority Leader Tony Sertich (DFL-Chisholm), who originally sponsored a bill dealing with the issue, said the change is needed for schools that do not carry health insurance.

Pawlenty wrote in his veto message that because the bill came so late in the session, “the impacts and costs to school districts associated with this structure were not fully vetted during regular committee hearings.” The impact could be significant, he noted.

The board would have offered six fully insured health plans:

• one that must provide coverage without a deductible and without other enrollee cost sharing other than reasonable co-payments for non-preventive care;

• a high-deductible plan that qualifies under federal law for use with a health savings account; and

• four with levels of enrollee cost sharing that are between the two plans.

Critics said there should be an opt-out for school districts that already have health care plans.

HF1875*/SF1593/CH346

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