Self insurance study revived, modified

Jun 1, 2017

Legislative Management Committee (5/31/17).
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A Legislative interim committee will study whether the state should continue with the current health insurance plan for state employees, or go with a self-funded plan.

A study proposal from House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo) that was part of the funding bill for the Public Employees Retirement System passed the 2017 Legislature -- but the study was the subject of a line-item veto from Gov. Doug Burgum (R). That version of the study set deadlines and requirements, such as the interim committee would have to submit a report complete with at least one proposal for self-funded insurance.

The study approved by the Legislative Management Committee doesn’t have those requirements. Carlson proposed it.

"the language would say, 'Study the public employee health insurance plan, including the feasibility and desirability of transitioning to a self-insurance plan," Car;lson said. "The study must include a review of the current plan, with a consideration of the costs and benefits, compared to the costs and benefits of a self-funded plan."

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) didn’t like the language in the vetoed study – but voted for this version of it.

"Our big objection was the mandating, the dates and stuff like that," Wardner said. "As far as having a study, to take a good look at self-insuring versus what we have now, we welcome that. We need to know."

The study will go to the interim Healthcare Reform and Review Committee. and not to the existing Employee Benefits Committee. Some Management committee members objected to that.

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