State Representative Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township) introduced House Bill 169, which would require many state employees to effectively pay 15 percent of the total cost for their dental, vision, and basic life insurance premiums. The legislation impacts exempt state employees not covered by collective bargaining agreements, including state legislators, agency directors, and executive staff.
State employees currently contribute zero percent toward their dental, vision, and life insurance benefits while contributing 15 percent toward their medical insurance premiums. House Bill 169 requires the same percentage be paid for dental, vision, and life insurance that employees pay for their medical insurance premiums.
“The free ride for state employees must end. Many private-sector employees are not even offered dental and vision benefits – let alone absolutely free,” said Representative Merrin.
House Bill 169 is projected to save taxpayers over $2.6 million annually. Also, the legislation instructs the state to seek the same provision while negotiating future collective bargaining agreements that govern about 35,900 unionized state employees that pay zero percent for their dental, vision, and life insurance benefits. If unionized state employees paid 15 percent for their dental, vision, and life insurance premiums, the state would save an additional $4.7 million annually.
“State employees already receive a great bargain by paying only 15 percent for their medical insurance,” Merrin said. “At the very least, they should pay 15 percent for their dental, vision, and basic life insurance benefits too.”
Greg Lawson, Senior Policy Analyst with The Buckeye Institute, said, "Asking state employees to put some 'skin in the game' like practically all private sector workers is not too much to ask. We must contain health care costs and assure fairness for all Ohioans."
Eligible state employees qualify for dental, vision, and life insurance after completing one year of service with the state. As of March, 2017, approximately 13,000 exempt state employees were covered under the state’s dental, vision, and basic life insurance plans.
House Bill 169 is co-sponsored by 15 state representatives and awaits committee designation.