Healthcare Plan for State Workers May Be Days Away

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Teachers and state workers may be only days away from having a new healthcare plan in place that would keep benefits and premiums at their current levels, and keep Vanderbilt Hospital covered by state insurance.

A plan proposed by Gov. Fletcher would have cut Vanderbilt from the list of insured care centers, and state workers say it would have raised their premiums and cut benefits. Fletcher called the General Assembly back into special session to address the problem, beginning October 5.

House Speaker Jody Richards (D)-Bowling Green told WBKO Thursday afternoon that the final House bill would come to a vote by the end of the day, and would head to the Senate.

Here are some highlights of the proposal, as quoted by Speaker Richards:

  • Cost approx. $160 million more than Gov. Fletcher's plan (to come from more than $300 million in unexpected tax revenues)

  • Includes most popular plan from this year

  • Includes Vanderbilt Hospital under insurance coverage

  • Includes three percent pay raise for teachers

  • Keeps premiums and benefits within current price range

The Senate says it agrees in principle with the plan, but is holding out on a final fixed price tag before voting it through.

Richards says the earliest the bill could become final would be Monday. The General Assembly faces a deadline of early next week to finish the plan so that workers can enroll over the next three to four weeks in order to have their insurance cards in hand by January 1, 2005.