Tenn. puts brakes on release of lawmaker health benefit cost

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – State officials are putting the brakes on releasing information to The Tennessean newspaper about nearly $6 million in taxpayer-subsidized health insurance benefits since 2008.

The newspaper reported (http://tnne.ws/1AIwnmZ ) it had been promised copies of the records Thursday in exchange for a $1,500 fee. But the state Benefits Administration reversed course without explanation, saying the documents wouldn’t be available until Friday.

The Tennessean a day earlier made a preliminary review of the documents on a state computer, finding that the state had paid about $5.8 million in premiums for lawmakers since 2008. Legislators paid $1.4 million for their share over the same timeframe.

The issue of lawmaker health benefits became a subject of attention as the General Assembly twice rejected Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposal to extend coverage to 280,000 low-income Tennesseans.