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Scutari, Ruiz and Sarlo Challenge Planned Rate Increase in Health Benefits That Will Impose Higher Costs on Taxpayers, Educators and Public Employees

TRENTON – Senate President Nick Scutari, Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz and Senator Paul Sarlo, the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, issued the following statement today urging those with approval authority to put off acting on the suddenly-revealed plan that will result in double-digit rate increases in health benefits for public employees.

The plan design committees for the State Health Benefits Program and the School Employees Health Benefits Program in the Treasury Department are expected to meet on Wednesday, July 27 to act on proposals that would allow Horizon to increase rates by as much as 24 percent, resulting in higher costs for taxpayers, educators and public workers.

“This is a staggering increase that will saddle taxpayers, public sector workers and educators with higher costs at a time when we are all contending with inflationary pressures and a possible recession,” said Senator Scutari, Senator Ruiz and Senator Sarlo. “We urge those with approval authority to reject the plan that was suddenly scheduled for action with little notification and no real justification. The Treasurer should use her authority to block the planned approval and make sure a full accounting of the finances of the two health benefits’ plans is made public and fully discussed. There should be no rate increases without justification and they should be prepared to take whatever steps are needed to mitigate the financial impact of any rate changes. We will get engaged in this issue to prevent these exorbitant increases from being approved.”