State officials said Tuesday that they plan to increase the number of insurers and health plan options for state employees and teachers next year. The State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) has been a target of fierce criticism since Jan. 1. That’s when changes to its benefit design, plus the use of just one insurer, sparked widespread complaints from teachers and state employees about a lack of choice of insurance plans and higher health care costs.
Georgia is running out of money for a program that had public and private school advocates protesting three years ago. That's when lawmakers approved a tax credit that funds private schools. The credit has proved popular. And now that the state is closing in on the program's budget limit, private school advocates say, lawmakers should increase funding.
Teachers in 26 Georgia school districts soon will be paid based on how well their students do on standardized tests. The merit-pay plan is part of the $400 million Race to the Top federal grant awarded last summer to Georgia.