(KCPW News) A Utah House committee approved a bill Wednesday requiring insurance companies to continue health coverage for their customers who are housed in state or county correctional facilities. Bill sponsor Representative Paul Ray says the legislation would save taxpayers money.
“If you have a county jail inmate who has insurance, instead of the taxpayer footing the bill for the health care, because the corrections budget is $27 million just for health care, if they have an insurance policy that’s paid, the premiums are being paid, it’s in effect, the insurance company becomes the primary payer. The state becomes the secondary payer,” he said.
State and county correctional facilities would be able to bill the inmate’s insurance company, even if the inmate receives in-house treatment.
But Ray says there is one exception to his legislation.
“We do have some safety nets in here,” said Ray. “If there’s prison violence, if it’s a shanking or something like that, or the inmate causes the injury himself to go to the infirmary to get out of the cell, obviously the state would cover that. It would not come back to the insurance.”
The bill passed 6-to-1 out of the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee. It now moves to a vote from the full House of Representatives.
Story by Whittney Evans