State and local government workers will now be able to choose among 15 different health plan options, which the Christie administration says will save taxpayers $70 million in 2012. Two committees, which were made up of union representatives as well employer representatives, devised the plans. The options, one designed for school employees and the second for other government workers, were created via the controversial pension and health benefits reform package signed into law earlier this year.
By creating 15 different options, the state says employees will be able to better match plans to their individual needs and determine how much they want to contribute to the plans. The new law is requiring employees to contribute to health coverage for the first time. By creating options, it will allow those that do not need full family coverage, or prefer to have a high deductible, to choose a lower-cost plan and thus save on premium contributions.