Premium Holiday Q & A
In August, the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) Commission voted to approve a contribution “holiday” in February 2022. This means that districts enrolled in the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program will not have to pay the February bill to the state, and employees will not have to make the contribution for that premium. NJEA advocated for this amendment when P.L. 2021, c. 163 was introduced to ensure that if a district did not have to pay the premium to the state then our members should not have to pay to contribution to the district.
Because the SEHBP has operated very efficiently and spent less than anticipated in recent years—partly as a result of changes negotiated and advocated for by NJEA—it has built up reserves in excess of what is needed to keep the plan solvent. Those reserves come from the premiums paid by employees and employers. The premium holiday is essentially a way to refund a portion of those premiums and allow employees and employers to share in the benefit of the lower-than-expected costs.
The contribution holiday is for school districts that were participating in the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program on or before July 1, 2021, and that remain in the SEHBP now.
You will not have to pay the contribution for February but may have to pay a small contribution because every month you are also making partial payments for your health benefits coverage in July and August. Regardless, this will result in an increase in your take-home pay for the month of February.
If you pay your premium contributions over 12 months, you will not have a payment for February. If your district only charges you over 10 months, please refer to the answer above.
Since you are now paying a percent of salary, you should not be charged any health insurance premium for February. If you are charged, please contact your local president. (Please see below for prescription insurance premium payments that may apply.)
You may be liable for a contribution based only the prescription premium since the private Rx carrier is not part of the premium holiday.
No. Only districts in the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program will qualify for the holiday.