Insurance; Appropriations A


Kent McCarty


2024 Session


Latest Action

The House Insurance and Appropriations A Committees failed to vote on HB 1694 by the March 5 deadline, causing the bill to die in committee.

Explanation of the Bill

House Bill 1694 would reduce premium contributions for eligible dependents by 50% on the State and School Employees Life and Health Insurance Plan, saving teachers and other state employees with families an average of $2,450 a year (and up to $5,004). 

Currently, the state provides a subsidy for employee coverage on the state health insurance plan—meaning a state employee pays no more than $48 in monthly premiums for their own personal coverage—but this subsidy does not apply to dependents of the employee. Monthly premium contributions to cover an employee’s spouse and child are currently $882, or $10,584 a year. Under HB 1694, the state would cover roughly half of this cost.

Compared to employees in other southeastern states, teachers and other state employees in Mississippi pay some of the highest premiums for family coverage while receiving the weakest coverage. State employees in Florida, for example, pay $702 less in monthly premiums for family coverage but receive coverage that is worth over $490 a month more than in Mississippi. Unfortunately for Mississippi teachers, the State and School Employees’ Health Insurance Plan is projected to increase premium rates even further in coming years while continuing to decrease benefits.

Sky-high premiums combined with poor insurance coverage may contribute to the fact that inadequate access to medical care is one of the most common indicators of financial insecurity among Mississippi teachers. In a survey of 6,496 Mississippi teachers in 2021-2022, 42.4% reported being unable to afford “health insurance premiums and deductibles, plus necessary healthcare costs not covered by insurance, for all members of my household.”

According to data from the Department of Finance and Administration, there are currently an estimated 29,212 active employees with some level of family coverage (e.g., “spouse only,” “full family,” etc.) paying a total of $143,135,867 in premiums, or $4,899.90 on average (this does not include the portion of their own individual premium that employees with Select Coverage must pay). Reducing these premium contributions by 50% would save the average family $2,449.95 at the cost of $71,567,933.50 a year for the state. This would represent a 12.3% increase to the $583,819,223 the state is projected to spend on individual employee premiums in FY24.

2/19/24On February 19, HB 1694 was referred to the House Insurance and Appropriations A Committees.
3/5/24The House Insurance and Appropriations A Committees failed to vote on HB 1694 by the March 5 deadline, causing the bill to die in committee.