Staff, faculty at 28 state colleges qualify for state employee health insurance plan under Senate budget
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 11/30/21-Sen. Doug Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze, speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee, Tuesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

House budget Chair Tom Leek says he's concerned with the solvency of the state group health insurance program.

Faculty and staff who work at one of Florida’s 28 state colleges could soon be allowed to enroll in the same health insurance program used by rank-and-file state workers.

The Senate is backing the move in its proposed spending plan for fiscal year 2024-25 and the Senate Appropriations Committee voted for the change as part of an education budget bill (SPB 2516). Faculty and employees who work at state universities are already part of the state group health insurance program.

“We think it’s a fairness issue,” said Sen. Doug Broxson, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who pointed out that state colleges have been asked to be treated the same as the 12 public universities across the state. “We will put it in the budget and see if we can negotiate with the House to do what is good policy.”

The bill would let state colleges apply to join the state group insurance program by Aug. 1 and enrollment of employees would have to begin before July 31, 2025.

The House does not have a similar proposal and the inclusion of college employees will be one of the items that will need to be hashed out between the chambers during budget negotiations during the final month of the Session.

Rep. Tom Leek, the House Appropriations Committee Chair, said he is open to discussing the concept with the Senate but said he is concerned about the overall solvency of the state group health insurance program. Leek said he has seen estimates that adding college employees could cost anywhere from $80 million — which is how much money the Senate set aside for the change — to as high as $380 million.

“We have to hone in on how they got their calculation there and then we can see what can be done,” Leek said.

Florida currently spends about $3 billion on the state group health insurance program, with most of the cost being picked up by the state and not from employee premiums. Legislators for the last two years put extra money in the trust fund due to projected deficits and they could put even more money into the fund in the 2024-25 budget.

Neither the House nor the Senate has proposed raising health insurance premiums paid by state employees and others covered by the plan, including legislators.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


  • Shelby justice

    January 31, 2024 at 6:33 pm

    When will teachers be afforded the same?

    • FloridaPatriot

      February 1, 2024 at 10:04 am

      For real. Why are the teachers and staff not included in the state insurance?

Comments are closed.


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