Special session to lower teacher insurance premiums begins

    6:21 PM, Oct 17, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - It's day one of the special session called by Governor Beebe. He called the session to address the Public School Employee Health Insurance Program. Teachers face having their insurance premiums doubled without action from lawmakers.
    State legislators began the discussion today about five bills on the table.

    "We have to address all five during this session," said Arkansas State Senator Joyce Elliott (D-Ark, 31st District). "We have an issue that's come up where the school district's public employees' health insurance premiums just keep rising and there are a lot of things that have caused that." Those things include large unexpected claims filed and a lack of participation in the program.

    Day one began with assigning the bills to committees. After the committees, they will be reviewed on the House and Senate floors. If the bills are approved, they swap chambers for a second set of approvals. Finally, if discussions go smoothly, the session will wrap up on Saturday.

    "We have just kind of slouched from year to year addressing this and we need very much to figure out a way to make the program itself more attractive and to get more people into it," Elliott said.

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