New state employees may need to wait three months before they can get receive health insurance. The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) Thursday approved a plan that would extend the current 30-day waiting period to 90 days for new hires at state agencies. The move could save the state $5 million, and would only last for a year.
Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, said the 90-day waiting period is standard in the private sector. “Given the circumstances of this next budget year, we thought it ought to be at 90 days,” he said. Cameron said the state hasn’t shifted to a 90-day period due to concerns that it would discourage people from applying for state jobs. “That’s certainly not the case now,” he said.
Boise Democratic Sen. Nicole LeFavour was the only member of JFAC to oppose the change. “I am just afraid that there will be more people that have a gap in their coverage,” she said.
Cameron, an insurance and investment broker, said new state employees could buy short-term insurance called gap policies. “They’re generally used for people who are in between jobs,” he said.
The added waiting time for new hires is part of the budget for the Department of Administration, which needs to be approved by the Idaho Senate and House of Representatives.