Friday, December 2, 2011

New OK Law Cuts Wasteful Benefit Spending

OKLAHOMA CITY (November 30, 2011) – A new law allowing state employees to opt out of state-funded insurance is already generating savings of more than half-a-million dollars, state Rep. Dustin Roberts announced today.
“Until this year, lawmakers and state employees were required to accept state-funded insurance even when they already had private coverage,” said Roberts, R-Durant. “That was a ridiculous waste of limited state dollars and I am pleased the reform I authored is now generating savings.”
House Bill 1062, by Roberts, allows legislators and state employees to opt out of state-funded insurance coverage if they already have policies through the private sector. The law took effect at the start of November.
So far, 91 people have opted out of state-funded coverage. It is conservatively estimated those opt-outs will result in at least $536,150 in savings, although final numbers are not yet available.
A fiscal analysis developed during session estimated that 2 percent to 5 percent of state employees may eventually opt out of state-funded coverage, ultimately saving $1.5 million to $3.5 million annually. 
“Obviously, when you are dealing with a state budget of $6.5 billion, the savings achieved by this legislation alone will not reverse the cuts imposed in recent years,” Roberts said. “However, every dollar saved is a dollar that can now be used for schools, roads and public safety. Good budgeting requires finding savings wherever you can in ways big and small, and I am proud to have eliminated wasteful spending in state government.”

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