Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order in July, establishing the State Health Benefits Quality and Value Task Force, which has been tasked with recommending cost-effective strategies for delivering health care to public employees and retirees who receive their health benefits through the State (SHBP) and School Employees Health Benefits Programs (SEHBP).  The group held its first meeting in July and will continue to hold monthly meetings to identify short and long-term solutions to improve the quality, efficiency and sustainability of the system.

A website for the Task Force was recently established: https://nj.gov/governor/statehealthbenefitstaskforce/index.shtml

The website includes a “Public Feedback” section that will provide a forum for members of the public to offer suggestions to help inform the work of the task force.  Specifically, the webpage asks the public to describe any significant opportunities and challenges to increase the value of the SHBP or the SEHBP, and to provide specific recommendations the task force should consider to improve quality and sustainability of the programs. Members of the public can provide feedback here: https://nj.gov/governor/statehealthbenefitstaskforce/feedback.shtml.

In addition, the task force is in the process of scheduling a series of “Public Listening Sessions.” There will be one listening session held in the northern, central and southern regions of the state. The first  will take place in the central region on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. at the Department of Law and Public Safety, Technology Complex Auditorium, 1200 Negron Drive, Hamilton, N.J. 08691.  The southern session is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 26 and the northern session is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 16.  Locations for the northern and southern sessions have not been determined.

The formal charge of the task force is to “evaluate the employee and retiree health benefits systems and make recommendations to provide quality and value in the State’s health benefits in a cost-effective manner.” Pursuant to the executive order establishing the group, objectives of the Task Force include:

  1. Examining current and future costs of employee and retiree health benefits to state and local government workers and to the state and local governments;
  2. Identifying opportunities for short-term improvements, including best practices in health management, and potential efficiencies to improve health outcomes; and
  3. Exploring long-term reforms for the broader employee and retiree health benefits system.

The group is chaired by the state’s Commissioner of Human Services and includes other members of the Murphy administration, health policy experts, members of the public and representatives of public sector unions and employers.  NJSBA is being represented on the task force by Jonathan Pushman, NJSBA legislative advocate. The group will be purely advisory in nature and will release recommendations as appropriate.

The full membership of the State Health Benefits Quality and Value Task Force is as follows:

  • Department of Treasury (Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio)
  • Department of Banking and Insurance (Commissioner Marlene Caride)
  • State Comptroller’s Office (Comptroller Philip J. Degnan)
  • Department of Human Services, Chair of the State Health Benefits Quality and Value Task Force (Commissioner Carole Johnson)
  • America’s Agenda (Mark Blum)
  • State Health and Value Strategies (Heather Howard)
  • Rutgers Center for State Health Policy (Joel Cantor)
  • Seton Hall Center for Health and Pharmaceutical Law and Policy (John Jacobi)
  • Communications Workers of America (Hetty Rosenstein)
  • New Jersey Education Association (Kevin Kelleher)
  • AFSCME (Steve Tully)
  • American Federation of Teachers (Donna M. Chiera)
  • International Association of Fire Fighters (Pete Nowak)
  • Policemen’s Benevolent Association (Kevin Lyons)
  • NJ League of Municipalities (Michael Cerra)
  • NJ School Boards Association (Jonathan Pushman)