Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 5536

February Session, 2008

 

LCO No. 1670

 

*01670_______LAB*

Referred to Committee on Labor and Public Employees

 

Introduced by:

 

(LAB)

 

AN ACT ESTABLISHING THE CONNECTICUT HEALTHCARE PARTNERSHIP.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) As used in sections 1 to 8, inclusive, of this act:

(1) "Labor organization" means any organization that exists and is constituted for the purpose, in whole or in part, of collective bargaining or of dealing with employers concerning grievances, terms or conditions of employment, or other mutual aid or protection.

(2) "Nonstate public employer" means a municipality or other political subdivision of the state, including an employee of a board of education or any employee of a quasi-public agency or public library.

(3) "Nonstate public employee" means any regular employee or elected officer of a non-state public employer.

(4) "Municipal-related employer" means any property management business, food service business or school transportation business that is a party to a contract with a nonstate public employer.

(5) "Municipal-related employee" means any employee of a municipal-related employer performing services in connection with a nonpublic contract.

(6) "Nonstate public collective bargaining agreement" means the collective bargaining agreement in effect between any collective bargaining agent of any nonstate public employees and their employer.

(7) "Small employer" means any person, firm, corporation, limited liability company, partnership or association actively engaged in business or self-employed for at least three consecutive months who, on at least fifty per cent of its working days during the preceding twelve months, employed no more than fifty eligible employees, as described in subsection (b) of this section, the majority of whom were employed within this state. "Small employer" does not include any nonstate public employer.

(8) "Nonprofit employer" means a nonprofit corporation, as described in section 33-1002 of the general statutes. Nonprofit employer does not include a nonstate public employer.

(9) "State employee plan" or "plan" means the plan offered to state employees and retirees pursuant to section 5-259 of the general statutes.

(10) "Health care costs containment committee" means the committee established pursuant to the ratified agreement between the state and state employees' Bargaining Agent Coalition pursuant to subsection (f) of section 5-278 of the general statutes.

(b) For purposes of sections 1 to 8, inclusive, of this act, "eligible employees" does not include employees covered through the employer by health insurance plans or insurance arrangements issued to or in accordance with a trust established pursuant to collective bargaining subject to the federal Labor Management Relations Act. In determining the number of eligible employees, companies which are affiliates, as defined in section 33-840 of the general statutes, or which are eligible to file a combined tax return under chapter 208 of the general statutes shall be considered one employer.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective January 1, 2009) (a) Notwithstanding any provision of title 38a of the general statutes, the Comptroller shall offer coverage under the state employee plan to nonstate public employees, municipal-related employees, employees of small employers and employees of nonprofit employers. Premium payments for such coverage shall be remitted by the employer to the Comptroller and shall be the same as those paid by the state, except as may be modified pursuant to section 4 of this act. The Comptroller shall offer participation in such plan for no shorter than three-year intervals.

(b) Nonstate public employees may join the plan in accordance with this subsection.

(1) Upon receipt of an application to cover, under the state employee plan, all employees of a municipality or all employees of a school board, or all employees of any other nonstate public employer, the Comptroller shall provide such coverage no later than the first day of the second calendar month following such application.

(2) Upon receipt of an application to cover, under the state employee plan, some employees of such employer, the Comptroller shall provide such coverage no later than the first day of the second calendar month following such application provided such coverage may be delayed by the Comptroller until all employees of the employer are seeking coverage, to the extent that the health care costs containment committee certifies to the Comptroller that the delay is necessary to prevent a nonstate public employer from shifting a significantly disproportional part of its medical risks to the state employee plan.

(3) Nonstate public employees and their dependents covered by a nonstate public collective bargaining agreement may seek enrollment under the state employee plan by mutual agreement of their collective bargaining agent and the employer or as a result of binding arbitration, as set forth in the general statutes.

(c) Employees of small employers may join the plan in accordance with this subsection.

(1) Premium rates may be adjusted by the health care costs containment committee pursuant to the factors allowed for a community rate under section 38a-567 of the general statutes.

(2) Upon receipt of an application to cover, under the state employee plan, all employees of such a small employer, the Comptroller shall provide such coverage no later than the first day of the second calendar month following such application.

(3) Upon receipt of an application to cover, under the state employee plan, some employees of such an employer, the Comptroller shall provide such coverage no later than the first day of the second calendar month following such application provided such coverage may be delayed by the Comptroller until all employees of the employer are seeking coverage, to the extent that the health care costs containment committee certifies to the Comptroller that the delay is necessary to prevent the employer from shifting a significantly disproportional part of its medical risks to the state employee plan.

(d) Employees of municipal-related employers, which are not small employers, and the employees of nonprofit employers, which are not small employers, may join the plan in accordance with this subsection.

(1) Upon receipt of an application to cover, under the state employee plan, all employees of such an employer, the Comptroller shall provide such coverage no later than the first day of the second calendar month following such application.

(2) Upon receipt of an application to cover, under the state employee plan, some employees of such an employer, the Comptroller shall provide such coverage no later than the first day of the second calendar month following such application provided such coverage may be delayed by the Comptroller until all employees of the employer are seeking coverage, to the extent that the health care costs containment committee certifies to the Comptroller that the delay is necessary to prevent the employer from shifting a significantly disproportional part of its medical risks to the state employee plan.

(e) The decision by individual employees to accept or decline coverage for themselves or their dependents shall have no impact on whether, and on what terms, coverage is available to employers under this section.

(f) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, the state employee plan shall not be deemed (1) an unauthorized insurer, or (2) a multiple employer welfare arrangement. Any licensed insurer in this state may conduct business with the state employee plan.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective January 1, 2009) (a) Employers eligible, pursuant to sections 1 to 8, inclusive, of this act, to seek coverage for their employees under the state employee plan may seek such coverage for their retirees in accordance with this section.

(b) Upon receipt of an application to cover, under the state employee plan, such retirees, the Comptroller shall provide such coverage no later than the first day of the second calendar month following such application, provided such coverage may be denied by the Comptroller to the extent that the health care costs containment committee certifies to the Comptroller that the denial is necessary to prevent the employer from shifting a significantly disproportional part of its medical risks to the state employee plan.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective January 1, 2009) (a) Each employer shall pay monthly the amount determined by the Comptroller pursuant to this section for coverage of its employees under the state employee plan. An employer may require each covered employee to contribute a portion of the cost of such employee's coverage under the plan, subject to any collective bargaining obligation applicable to such employer. If any payment due under this subsection is not paid two months after the date due, interest shall be added to such payment at the prevailing rate of interest, as determined by the Comptroller. Such interest shall be paid by the employer.

(b) There is established, within the General Fund, a separate, nonlapsing account to be known as the state plan premium account. All premiums paid by employers and employees pursuant to sections 1 to 8, inclusive, of this act shall be deposited into said account. The account shall be administered by the Comptroller, in conjunction with the health care costs containment committee.

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective January 1, 2009) The Office of the Healthcare Access, working with the advice and consent of the health care costs containment committee, shall employ up to three ombudspersons for the purpose of advising any eligible employer and any collective bargaining agent of any eligible employers as to the advantages or disadvantages to the employer and its employees of procuring coverage under the state employee plan.

Sec. 6. (NEW) (Effective January 1, 2009) Modifications to the collective bargaining agreement between the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition and the State, which are necessary in order to offer coverage under the state employee plan to those additional employees made eligible for coverage under sections 1 to 8, inclusive, of this act, shall take place upon receipt by the Comptroller of consent to such modifications by the coalition.

Sec. 7. (NEW) (Effective January 1, 2009) No later than January 1, 2010, the Comptroller, with the advice and consent of the health care costs containment committee, shall report to the General Assembly, in accordance with section 11-4a of the general statutes, recommendations for the terms and conditions under which access to the state employee plan may be provided to those not authorized access pursuant to sections 1 to 8, inclusive, of this act.

Sec. 8. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) There is established a municipal health care costs containment committee. Said committee shall make advisory recommendations concerning health care coverage of municipal employees to the health care costs containment committee, as defined in section 1 of this act.

(b) The municipal health care costs containment committee shall consist of the following members: (1) Municipal representatives selected by the Comptroller; (2) employee representatives selected by the Comptroller; and (3) one neutral chairperson, who shall be jointly chosen by the municipal and employee representatives. The Comptroller shall establish a method for determining the number of municipal and employee representatives to be selected. The committee shall be staffed and advised by the Comptroller or the Comptroller's designee.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

from passage

New section

Sec.

January 1, 2009

New section

Sec. 3

January 1, 2009

New section

Sec. 4

January 1, 2009

New section

Sec. 5

January 1, 2009

New section

Sec. 6

January 1, 2009

New section

Sec. 7

January 1, 2009

New section

Sec. 8

from passage

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To reduce costs to municipalities and increase benefits for employees by opening the state employee insurance pool and allow municipal employees to join voluntarily.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]