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State university staff has access to a group health plan, but Governor DeSantis vetoes $80 million to offset higher costs

Senate Republicans pushed to let colleges participate in the state’s group health insurance program and pay for the higher costs.

Faculty and staff at the state’s 28 colleges can access the state’s group health insurance plan. But the higher costs of expanding access to these workers may have to come from colleges’ existing budgets somewhere.

Government Ron DeSantis signed legislation (HB 5101) allowing government school staff to enroll in the health insurance plan. But DeSantis vetoed the $80 million lawmakers agreed to invest in the budget to offset higher costs associated with potential new enrollments.

State workers – including the governor, cabinet members, legislators, legislative staff and employees at state agencies – have access to the state’s group health insurance plan. This also applies to state employees in the state university system.

It was Senate Republicans who pushed to allow universities to join the state group’s health insurance program, even as economists predicted that the trust fund that pays for the benefits is at risk of entering a deficit in the 2024-2025 budget year .

To help close the projected deficit, budget negotiators agreed to add $550 million to the trust fund. The proposed budget includes $350 million in general revenue and $200 million in federal money diverted from past spending.

This is the third year the Legislature has agreed to pour hundreds of millions into the state’s workers’ comp health insurance fund to keep it solvent. Despite the shortfalls, the Legislature has not increased the monthly health insurance premiums that they and other government employees covered by the plan pay for the benefit.

It’s a benefit most lawmakers are taking advantage of, according to data obtained by Florida Politics.

Ninety-seven members of the House of Representatives are enrolled in the state’s group health insurance plan Jenna Box Sarkissianthe Director of Open Government & Special Projects for House Speaker Paul Renner.

Thirty-four senators use the health insurance plan, according to the state group Katherine Bettaa spokesperson for the Senate President Kathleen Passidomo.

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