APRIL 3) – Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler said that as Governor he
would work to add a Medical Savings Account option to the State Health
Benefits Plan – a move he said would allow state and municipal
employees who are covered by them to have more freedom in selecting
medical care, and at the same time, would save the state money.
Savings Accounts would cover the same medical procedures as the
state’s current health plan, at the same level of coverage – or
better,” Schundler said. “The difference is that this would provide
employees with more freedom in making health care decisions, while
costing less than traditional indemnity coverage.”
noted that in 1995, Jersey City became the first governmental entity in
the United States to offer MSA’s as part of a 3-year state pilot
program. The accounts were a smash hit with employees and produced
benefits cost savings for the city.
employees were extremely pleased with the MSA’s, but political inertia
has caused state leaders to ignore our results,” Schundler said.
“Bills to establish this new health care option have been introduced
in the past two legislative sessions, unfortunately to no avail.”
MSA bill, A-2344, sponsored by Assemblyman Rick Merkt and Assemblywoman
Clare Farragher has been introduced during the current session.
Assemblymen Richard Bagger and Francis Blee, and Senator Walter
Kavanaugh introduced a similar bill in the 1998-99 session.
an MSA, the first $2,000 of family medical expenses is paid out of an
employee-funded account. The employee pays the next $200 out-of-pocket
as a back-end deductible. Above $2,000, an insurance policy kicks in to
cover 100 percent of additional costs. But if at the end of the year,
the employee’s total medical costs are less than $2,000, the money
left over in the account is given to the employee.
means that employees will be able to choose their own doctors and
medical procedures, and will no longer have deductibles or out-of-pocket
expenses for covered procedures. At the same time, this will cost
taxpayers less than the insurance plans currently offered by the state
to its employees and the municipal workers currently enrolled in the
state plan,” Schundler said.
said that Medical Savings Accounts should not only be implemented by the
state for its employees, but that they should serve as a model for how
private employers might better provide health care coverage for their