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Senate President Steve Sweeney. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Sweeney introduces NJEA health plan reform bill

Unclear when the measure will move

By Nikita Biryukov, March 17 2020 10:12 am

Senate President Steve Sweeney introduced his bill reforming health plans for New Jersey Education Association members Tuesday.

“As the state rallies together to face the uncertainty of the global pandemic brought on by the coronavirus, we have to demonstrate to New Jersey that government will continue to function,” Sweeney said. “This is truly a landmark agreement and it could never have happened without the hard-fought and good-faith efforts of NJEA’s President Marie Blistan. The law will provide real and lasting savings for property taxpayers and cost reductions for teachers and other education professionals.”

The previously-announced measure will create new health plans for NJEA members that Sweeney and Blistan say will save more than $1 billion annually, with $670 million in projected savings for local school districts and $403 million expected savings for NJEA members.

The proposed NJ Educators Health Plan will tie employee contributions to salaries instead of healthcare premiums.

It’s not clear when the bill will be moved. The Senate has a session and a single committee meeting slated for Thursday, but board lists for those have yet to be posted, and it’s likely the chamber will exclusively move bills dealing with the state’s response to COVID-19.

“While we focus on the immediate threat to public health and economic stability, it’s important the public understands that their government is steadfastly working towards both their short and long-term welfare,” Sweeney said.

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