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Pensions and Benefits
PENSION AND HEALTH BENEFITS
REVIEW COMMISSION 2011

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PENSION AND HEALTH BENEFITS REVIEW COMMISSION
2011 CALENDAR (REVISED ON 10-20-2011)

The following meeting dates have been scheduled at 10:00 AM in the first floor board room at the
Division of Pensions and Benefits, 50 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08625:

  • February 18, 2011
  • March 25, 2011 - CANCELLED
  • May 6, 2011
  • June 17, 2011 - CANCELLED
  • July 8, 2011 - DATE ADDED ON 5-26-2011
  • August 19, 2011 - DATE ADDED ON 7-12-2011
  • September 16 , 2011 - CANCELLED
  • November 4, 2011- CANCELLED
  • December 9, 2011 - DATE ADDED ON 10-20-2011

Meeting Agendas for 2011

February

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Vote Results for 2011

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MEETING AGENDAS


Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Agenda for February 18, 2011 

The Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission will meet on Friday, February 18, 2011 at 10:00 AM in the first floor boardroom of the Division of Pensions and Benefits, 50 West State Street, Trenton.  No verbal comments are accepted during the meeting.  The Commission should receive written comments at least ten business days in advance of the meeting.  The agenda is as follows:

S-2400 (Beck)
Increases health care benefits coverage contribution rate for public employees; requires annual appropriation for certain women’s health services; makes appropriation.

A-3702 (Albano/Milam)/S-2608 (Van Drew)
Provides for one-time increase of PFRS retiree annual pensions under $32,000.

A-3694 (Lampitt/Giblin)
Permits institutions of higher education to make supplemental contributions to ABP.

S-2578 (Kean)/A-3713 (Rible/Angelini)
Changes mandatory retirement age for Workers Compensation Judges from age 70 to age 75.

S-2645 (Doherty)
Extends certain PERS benefits to veterans of “Operation Uphold Democracy”.


Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Revised Agenda for May 6, 2011
 

The Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission will meet on Friday, May 6, 2011 at 10:00 AM in the first floor boardroom of the Division of Pensions and Benefits, 50 West State Street, Trenton.  No verbal comments are accepted during the meeting.  The Commission should receive written comments at least ten business days in advance of the meeting.  The agenda is as follows:

A-3830 (Polistina/Amodeo)
Mandates health insurance coverage for certain amino acid-based elemental formulas.

A-3854 (Milam/Riley/Stender)
Extends period for requested medical exam for disability benefits under PFRS to every two years until 55 years of age.

A-3864 (Quijano) (Hold per bill sponsor’s request)
Provides SHBP New Jersey State Employee Wellness Program with financial incentives for participants.

S-2786 (Norcross)
Provides one-year opportunity to purchase certain military time for service credit in State-administered retirement system by certain veterans.

S-2716 (Beck/Oroho)
Suspends pension of any retired public employee who resumes public employment with compensation more than $15,000.  


Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Agenda for July 8, 2011

The Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission will meet on Friday, July 8, 2011 at 10:00 AM in the first floor boardroom of the Division of Pensions and Benefits, 50 West State Street, Trenton. No verbal comments are accepted during the meeting. The Commission should receive written comments at least ten business days in advance of the meeting. The agenda is as follows:

A-3868 (Conaway/Vainieri Huttle/Conners)
Requires insurance coverage in the individual and small employer markets and SHBP and SEHBP for “off-label” uses of certain drugs.

A-3998 (Polistina/Amodeo)
Requires appointed or elected official receive annual salary of $50,000 or more for position to participate in PERS or DCRP.

A-3161 (Johnson)
Expands health benefits coverage for early intervention services provided through DHSS.

A-3968 (Conaway)
Restricts health insurers from limiting access to pain medication.

S-2503 (Greenstein)/A-664 (Greenstein)
Provides non-forfeitable right to post-retirement medical benefits provided by law to certain public employees with 25 years of service.


Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Agenda for August 19, 2011

The Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission will meet on Friday, August 19, 2011 at 10:00 AM in the first floor boardroom of the Division of Pensions and Benefits, 50 West State Street, Trenton.  No verbal comments are accepted during the meeting.  The Commission should receive written comments at least ten business days in advance of the meeting.  The agenda is as follows:

A-4164 (O’Donnell/Watson Coleman)
Increases PFRS employee contribution rate; requires new members to be age 50 for special retirement; creates cap on PFRS retiree COLA; restructures PFRS board of trustees and gives it control over fund investments.

A-4138 (Quijano)
Provides for SHBP New Jersey State Employee Wellness Program with financial incentives for participation in program.

S-2986 (Turner)
Reinstates automatic COLA for retirement benefits of members of the State-administered retirement systems.

A-4087 (Polistina/Amodeo)
Allows elected official who is enrolled in PERS by virtue of another public position to waive coverage in retirement system based on that other public position.

A-4188 (Holzapfel)
Repeals law allowing PERS member to retire with PERS pension and continue to receive salary for current PERS-covered elective office; permits certain PERS and TPAF members to file for retirement without designating retirement date.  


Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Agenda for December 9, 2011
 

The Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission will meet on Friday, December 9, 2011 at 10:00 AM in the first floor boardroom of the Division of Pensions and Benefits, 50 West State Street, Trenton.  No verbal comments are accepted during the meeting.  The Commission should receive written comments at least ten business days in advance of the meeting.  The agenda is as follows:

S-3070 (Vitale/Weinberg)/A-4308 (Prieto/Wisniewski)
Requires health benefits coverage for mammograms for women under 40 who lack access to family medical history due to their or their parent’s adoption.

A-4348 (O’Scanlon/Chiusano)/S-3123 (Pennacchio)
Replaces TPAF, PERS, PFRS and SPRS accidental disability benefits with reduced work-related disability benefit; modifies JRS disability benefit.

A-4355 (Spencer)
Requires health benefit coverage for telemedicine services.


VOTE RESULTS

Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Vote Results
February 18, 2011 

S-2400 (Beck)
Increases health care benefits coverage contribution rate for public employees; requires annual appropriation for certain women’s health services; makes appropriation.

Motion: Recommend not to enact. 

Discussion:  The bill as written does not address the increasing cost of health care, a percentage of premiums rather than a percentage of salary is a better approach for funding health care, especially as the percentage of salary does not increase as quickly as the costs of healthcare. The unfunded liability for health care contributions should not be worsened by diverting funds to other purposes. Therefore, using State employees health care funds to inappropriately fund a specific public program is not advisable. This bill also increases the employee contributions toward health benefit coverage for all public employees, regardless of the source of coverage (i.e.) in or out of the SHBP/SEHBP. The Commission supports funding health care as a percentage of premium rather than salary and should include percentage increases based upon the number of employees covered, in order to begin to reach a target amount that is high enough to share between employer and employee the costs of healthcare. A phased-in approach of any increases is advisable due to the affordability factor for the employees.

A-3702 (Albano/Milam)/S-2608 (Van Drew)
Provides for one-time increase of PFRS retiree annual pensions under $32,000.

Motion: Recommend not to enact.

Discussion:  The bill provides for a one-time annual pension increase for retirees of the PFRS. If enacted this bill would encourage the introduction of similar legislation extending the same enhancement to retirees from the other State-administered retirement systems. Any increase in pension benefits will only worsen the unfunded liability of the pension system.

A-3694 (Lampitt/Giblin)
Permits institutions of higher education to make supplemental contributions to ABP.

Motion: Recommend not to enact.

Discussion: Prior to the enactment of P.L. 2010, c. 31, the State was liable for the 8 percent employer contribution on an ABP member’s full salary, up to the compensation limits imposed by IRC §415, currently $245,000.  Effective July 1, 2010, Chapter 31 established a limit on the State’s employer contributions to the ABP by providing that there will be no contributions based on any portion of salary that is in excess of the statutory maximum salary of State cabinet officers, currently $141,000. The enactment of this bill would restore the employer contribution to pre-Chapter 31 levels, but shift the financial liability for the excess contributions from the State to the colleges and universities. The bill’s elective provision could jeopardize the ABP qualified status.

S-2578 (Kean)/A-3713 (Rible/Angelini)
Changes mandatory retirement age for Workers Compensation Judges from age 70 to age 75.

Motion:  Recommend enactment.

Discussion: This bill is similar to S-2326 which was reviewed by the Commission at its November 19, 2010 meeting. The only difference between the bills is that S-2326 not only would have increased the mandatory retirement age from 70 to 75, it would have also increased the age a Workers Compensation Judge could begin to collect a pension from the current age 70 to 75. S-2578 retains the ability to start collecting a pension at age 70. The Commission favors S-2326’s enactment since there were no increased pension costs associated with the bill. However, the Commission did not express an opinion as to the potential for discrimination by untying the JRS mandatory retirement age of 70 that has been the standard for Workers Compensation Judges.

S-2645 (Doherty)
Extends certain PERS benefits to veterans of “Operation Uphold Democracy”.

Motion: Recommend not to enact.

Discussion: The Commission recommends against enactment since employer pension costs will increase. Pension liabilities for veteran members are approximately 50% higher than for non-veteran members. Expanding the pool of current pension system members who qualify for a special veteran retirement will increase State and local employer pension costs. The bill would provide veteran’s status only to members of the PERS. Members of the TPAF and PFRS, pension systems that also offer veterans benefits and whose veteran’s eligibility statutes currently mirror the PERS statutes, are excluded from the benefit enhancements provided by this bill.  The State may need to consider the State’s differences in the treatment of veterans, as in this instance indicated by the bill’s proposal for one retirement system.


Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Vote Results
May 6, 2011 

A-3830 (Polistina/Amodeo)
Mandates health insurance coverage for certain amino acid-based elemental formulas.

Motion: Recommend against enactment since it would mandate health benefits coverage and increase cost. 

Discussion: The bill would expand coverage of amino acid based formula for the treatment of esophilic disorder to all covered members regardless of age when determined by the covered patient’s physician to be medically necessary. The SHBP/SEHBP already covers amino acid-based elemental formulas for infants up to 12 months old. These formulas usually do not require a prescription and can be purchased over-the-counter.  The SHBP/SEHBP excludes coverage for over-the-counter drugs, or drugs that do not require a prescription written by a licensed practitioner. If enacted it would set a precedent by expanding the plans cover to over-the-counter treatments. The bill has an estimated additional first year cost of $1.9 million annually that would likely increase as the formulas are covered.

A-3854 (Milam/Riley/Stender)
Extends period for requested medical exam for disability benefits under PFRS to every two years until 55 years of age.

Motion: Recommend enactment and support additional legislation to include PERS and TPAF and to require earnings test for PFRS disability retirees.

Discussion:  The Commission supports this bill since it may serve to mitigate the award of disability pensions when a member is not truly “totally and permanently” disabled. It will mandate that  members who collect either an ordinary or accidental disability allowance are required under the age of 55 to submit to a medical examination once a year for at least five years and thereafter, if deemed necessary by the retirement system, every two years. Currently, members receiving accidental disability benefits are not required for a reexamination after the initial medical examination of the member to determine if eligible for the benefits. In addition, the Commission would support additional legislation to include PERS and TPAF and to require an annual earnings test for PFRS members that are collecting a disability retirement.

S-2786 (Norcross)
Provides one-year opportunity to purchase certain military time for service credit in State-administered retirement system by certain veterans.

Motion: Recommend against enactment since it exceeds federal USERRA mandates that New Jersey follows, enhances benefits and creates an additional unfunded liability in the State-administered retirement systems.

Discussion: The bill pertains to certain employment and benefit protections provided by the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) to employees who leave their jobs for active military service. USERRA provides benefit protection to an employee who leaves public employment after October 13, 1994 to serve in the uniformed services and then returns to public employment within time frames specified in the law, normally within 90 days of the end of the uniformed service. USERRA requires an employer to treat an employee’s time in the uniformed services as if the employee had never left public employment for the purposes of vesting and/or determining eligibility for retirement and health benefits.

Provisions of the New Jersey Administrative Code, N.J.A.C. 17:1-3.10 were adopted to comply with USERRA. New Jersey Administrative Code does provide a public employee the ability to receive credit for otherwise eligible military time served prior to October 13, 1994, but the public employee must make the election within one year following the date of return to employment or the date pension contributions are certified. This bill would provide public employees an additional one year to make the election. In addition it provides another opportunity only to public employees who had otherwise eligible military service rendered prior to the USERRA’s effective date, while ignoring public employees who rendered otherwise qualified USERRA military service after its effective date. The enactment of this bill could create demands to provide another opportunity for public employees with post-October 13, 1994 military service whose period to elect to purchase this service has also expired.

S-2716 (Beck/Oroho)
Suspends pension of any retired public employee who resumes public employment with compensation more than $15,000.

Motion:  Recommend enactment with the recommendation to leave the $15,000 annual compensation limit in the aggregate for all public employment.

Discussion: The Commission supports the objective of the bill to curtail double-dipping by both receiving a public pension and a public salary simultaneously. Under the bill, retirees of all public retirement systems who become reemployed in public positions paying more than $15,000, outside the current exceptions, will have their  retirement benefit suspended and until the person is no longer employed by a public employer in a position with compensation more than $15,000. There were issues raised that the bill may not address all the existing exceptions in State pension laws that allow the receipt of a public pension while still in public employment. In addition, the bill does not state that the annual compensation of $15,000 can only be obtained through one public employer. An employee could work for several different municipalities and make just under the $15,000 compensation limit with several different employers. 


Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Vote Results
July 8, 2011

A-3868 (Conaway/Vainieri Huttle/Conners)
Requires insurance coverage in the individual and small employer markets and SHBP and SEHBP for “off-label” uses of certain drugs.

Motion: Recommend against enactment. In light of the enactment of Chapter 78, P.L. 2011, the subject of “off-label” uses of certain drugs is a plan design issue and should be referred to the SHBP/SEHBP State Health Benefits Plan Design Committees. 

Discussion: The bill requires insurance coverage in the individual and small employer markets and SHBP/SEHBP for “off-label” uses of certain drugs. It provides benefits for expenses incurred in prescribing a drug which has not been approved by the FDA if the drug is recognized as medically appropriate. The concern with the bill is that it relies solely on the recommendation that the drug is recognized as being medically appropriate for the specific treatment for which it has been prescribed by the referenced compendia. The fact that an attending practitioner prescribes and approves the drug intervention, or length of treatment does not make the intervention “medically necessary and appropriate.” Therefore, the Commission recommends that the subject of “off label” uses of certain drugs be referred to the new SHBP/SEHBP State Health Benefits Plan Design Committee as established by the enactment of Chapter 78.

A-3998 (Polistina/Amodeo)
Requires appointed or elected official receive annual salary of $50,000 or more for position to participate in PERS or DCRP.

Motion: Recommend against enactment since the bill may have unintended consequences to municipal and county governments.  

Discussion:  The Commission is concerned that the enactment of this bill could have a negative effect on municipal and county appointed officials. Many of these appointed positions in local government, i.e. deputy municipal clerks; business administrators, etc. are mandated positions that justify the receipt of participation in a retirement program. To remove them from participation in a retirement program may be problematic in retaining employees for these types of positions. In addition, P.L. 2010, c.1 permits PERS membership for such employees on the condition that they in fact work full-time so the $50,000 limit seems arbitrary. A separate bill may be called for if the goal is to preclude pensions for State Legislators with a salary of $49,000. A number of recently enacted pension and health benefits reforms were aimed at curtailing pension coverage for elected and appointed officials making this bill unnecessary; in particular, the DCRP was created to curtail tacking, boosting and part of the financial strain on the pension funds. In addition, the provisions of this bill would be applicable to both current and new part-time elected and appointed officials. The State law that provides members a “non-forfeitable right” to receive upon retirement the level of pension benefits that was in place at the time 5 years of pension service was attained may render this bill unenforceable as it applies to those who have already accrued five years of pension service credit. The enactment of P.L. 2010, c. 1 removed the non-forfeitable right to receive benefits as provided under the laws governing the retirement system or fund, upon the attainment of five years of service credit for members enrolled on or after the effective date of May 21, 2010.

A-3161 (Johnson)
Expands health benefits coverage for early intervention services provided through DHSS.

Motion: Recommend against enactment since the Commission usually does not support health benefit mandates and recommends that changes to health benefits coverage should be deferred to the SHBP/SEHBP State Health Benefits Plan Design Committee as established by the enactment of Chapter 78.

Discussion: The Commission is opposed to this bill since its mandates coverage that will increase the annual employer SHBP/SEHBP costs. The enactment of Chapter 115, P.L. 2009 mandates that the SHBP/SEHBP’s coverage for developmental services is limited to covered individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. This bill will expand this coverage to a covered individual who is eligible for services provided through the Early Intervention System under DHSS for the treatment of a child with a developmental delay who has not been diagnosed as having an autism spectrum disorder or another developmental disability. The New Jersey Early Intervention System (NJEIS), under the Division of Family Health Services, implements the statewide system of services for infants and toddlers, birth to age three, with developmental delays or disabilities, and their families. The Early Intervention System is funded by the State and costs $100 ml. The enactment of the bill would shift the cost of the family cost share liability to the health care insurer.

A-3968 (Conaway)
Restricts health insurers from limiting access to pain medication.

Motion:  Recommend against enactment since health benefit mandates increase health care costs.

Discussion:  The bill will increase SHBP/SEHBP employer costs and removes the oversight of the pharmacy benefits manager. It grants the authority to the prescriber, rather than the plan to determine the duration of a step therapy program. This will significantly undercut the value of any step therapy program for these medications because these programs are designed to cover and promote the clinically appropriate and cost effective generic drug or lower-cost brand-name alternative drug before covering the higher cost non-preferred drugs. The plan is in the best position to make these determinations because they have visibility to both the clinical and cost consideration related to a class of drugs. These programs are also seen as an avenue for implementing utilization management rules outside of the influence of any brand manufacturer sales program. Turning the authority for step therapy initiatives over to the prescriber would subvert the intent of the step therapy programs.  In addition, step therapy programs can be particularly important when dealing with medications that are more prone to abuse such as certain drugs used in the treatment of pain.

Aside from the SHBP/SEHBP, the bill would mandate the coverage for all health insurance policies that provide coverage for outpatient prescription drugs issued in the State, other than self-insured contracts. Such mandates generally tend to drive up the cost of health insurance for both the employer provided coverage and individual policies.

S-2503 (Greenstein)/A-664 (Greenstein)
Provides non-forfeitable right to post-retirement medical benefits provided by law to certain public employees with 25 years of service.

Motion: Recommend against enactment since it may increase the State’s total liabilities for post-retirement medical. Recent legislation has addressed this issue.

Discussion: The enactment of Chapter 78 P.L. 2011 made sweeping changes to both the pension and health care benefits for public employees. The health benefit provisions of Chapter 78 shifts the active and retired public employee health benefit contributions away from a collectively negotiated arrangement to a legislative mandate. Historically, legislation enacted impacting retired health benefit coverage grandfathered active employees who already accrued 25 years of service, the level of service required to earn employer provided health benefit coverage in retirement, to the same arrangement provided at the time they reached the 25 years service credit level. Chapter 78 not only grandfathers current active public employees with 25 or more years of service from increased health benefit contributions in retirement, it also grandfathers active employees with 20 to 24 years of service.

The enactment of this bill S-2503, would effectively preclude the application of any future premium sharing, or any other SHBP/SEHBP cost containment measure, to any prospective retiree from the PERS, TPAF and ABP who had five years of pension service credit at the time the cost containment measure is adopted, and minimize any anticipated health benefit cost reductions to the State and local employers. In additions, the provisions of this bill apply only to State and local public employees who are members of the PERS, TPAF, and ABP. State employees who are members of the PFRS, SPRS, and JRS along with local employees in the PFRS, are not provided with similar protection.


Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Vote Results
August 19, 2011 

A-4164 (O’Donnell/Watson Coleman)
Increases PFRS employee contribution rate; requires new members to be age 50 for special retirement; creates cap on PFRS retiree COLA; restructures PFRS board of trustees and gives it control over fund investments.

Motion: Recommend not to enact since pension reforms relating to PFRS were recently enacted under P.L. 2011, c.78.

Discussion: The Commission opposes this bill because reforms to the PFRS were recently enacted and it would significantly increase annual State and local employer pension costs. The objective of the pension reforms legislation was to provide fiscal relief to the State and local employers participating in the plans in the form of lower annual pension costs, while at the same time providing long-term financial stability to the plans. One of the provisions of this bill would re-instate COLA only for members of the PFRS, while removing the reform bill’s requirement that the pension funds maintain 80% funding for any increased benefits. The enactment of Chapter 78 provided the suspension of COLA, which had the impact of significantly reducing total pension liabilities and employer pension cots immediately. Over a 30 year period, the combination of Chapter 78’s benefit and funding changes are projected to decrease State and local pension contributions by $120 billion. In FY 2013 State and local employer pension contributions pertaining to the PFRS were reduced by $26.6 million and $504.4 million respectively. The enactment of this bill will increase PFRS pension liabilities and State and local employer annual pension costs to the PFRS nearly back to levels prior to the enactment of Chapter 78. Further, the bill specifies new employee contribution rates and removes the reform bill’s provision for adjustment as financial needs change, while also providing a separate investment mechanism solely for PFRS that increases financial risk. 

A-4138 (Quijano)
Provides for SHBP New Jersey State Employee Wellness Program with financial incentives for participation in program.

Motion: Recommend not to enact, since the enactment of P.L. 2011, c. 78 created health benefit plan committees to design and develop health benefit programs.

Discussion: The Commission opposes this bill because the enactment of P.L. 2011, c. 78 created a SHBP and SEHBP design committees and gave them the authority to design and develop health benefits programs. The Commission supports the concept of a wellness program but to have it legislated, particularly with a list of changes affecting few behaviors and one plan, makes it more difficult to effectuate any changes, since further legislation would need to be enacted to amend the plan.

S-2986 (Turner)
Reinstates automatic COLA for retirement benefits of members of the State-administered retirement systems.

Motion: Recommend not to enact since pension reforms relating to COLA was recently enacted under P.L. 2011, c.78.

Discussion: The enactment of this bill would reverse a major cost-saving provision included in pension and health benefit reform recently signed into law. Key provisions of the pension benefit design changes included in Chapter 78 were prospective in nature and impact employees who become members of the retirement on or after June 28, 2011, the law’s effective date. The law’s provision suspending COLA had the impact of significantly reducing total pension liabilities and employer costs immediately. This bill would permit the COLA change without regard to the pension funds maintaining 80% funding for any increased benefits. Over a 30 year period, the combination of Chapter 78’s benefit and funding changes are projected to decrease State and local pension contributions by $120 billion.

A-4087 (Polistina/Amodeo)
Allows elected official who is enrolled in PERS by virtue of another public position to waive coverage in retirement system based on that other public position.

Motion: Recommend not to enact.

Discussion: The population that would be impacted by this bill is limited since pension reform restricting a public employee’s eligibility to PERS membership to only one position has been enacted. P.L. 2010, c. 1 provides that a person is eligible for membership in the PERS and TPAF based upon only one position and requires the retirement system to designate the position providing the higher or highest compensation for the person with such concurrent positions as the basis for eligibility for membership and the compensation base for contributions and pension calculations. This provision, however, only applies to public employees who become PERS or TPAF members on or after May 21, 2010. PERS and TPAF members, who had more than one public employer prior to Chapter 1, were grandfathered and can continue to have their pension based on all public employment. This bill does not prohibit PERS membership from being reinstated for the nonelective position if PERS membership in the elected office is terminated. This bill’s impact would be limited to elected officials in this grandfathered population, which continues to diminish as this population retires.
  
A-4188 (Holzapfel)
Repeals law allowing PERS member to retire with PERS pension and continue to receive salary for current PERS-covered elective office; permits certain PERS and TPAF members to file for retirement without designating retirement date.

Motion: Recommend not to enact.


Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission
Vote Results
December 9, 2011 

S/3070 (Vitale/Weinberg) A-4308(Prieto/Wisniewski)
Requires health benefits coverage for mammograms for women under 40 who lack access to family medical history due to their or their parent’s adoption.

Motion: Recommend not to enact since it legislatively mandates health benefits coverage.

Discussion: The Commission opposes this bill because it legislatively mandates health benefits coverage. These mandates usually drive up the employer health care cost Additional employer provided health benefit coverage should be determined by the collective negotiation process.

A-4348 ( O’Scanlon/Chiusano) S-3123(Pennacchio)
Replaces TPAF, PERS, PFRS and SPRS accidental disability benefits with reduced work-related disability benefit; modifies JRS disability benefit.

Motion:  Recommend to enact with suggested modifications.

Discussion:  The Commission supports enactment of the bill with suggested modifications: 1) an increase in the work-related disability benefit of 40% should be considered for the most traumatic injuries that result in total disability; 2) a description of the level of medical coverage available in each system would be beneficial; 3) a monitoring of a potential shift to Workers Compensation awards would help identify any unintended costs that might result, and; 4) a change from the words “mental retardation” to “intellectual disability” would appear to be consistent with P.L.2010, c.50.

A-4355 (Spencer)
Requires health benefit coverage for telemedicine services.

Motion:  Recommend not to enact since it legislatively mandates health benefits coverage.

Discussion: The Commission opposes this bill because it legislatively mandates health benefits coverage. These mandates usually drive up the employer health care cost. Additional employer provided health benefit coverage should be determined by the collective negotiation process. The bill does nothing to change the health plan coverage instead it can change the manner in which the service can be provided by a health care professional and a patient.


 
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