A state employee health plan (SEHP) is typically the largest non-federal health program in a state. All states offer some form of health benefits for eligible state employees and their dependents. Approximately 3.4 million state employees and retirees are covered by a state employee health plan. SEHPs are administered by a state agency under the authority of the governor, normally the state personnel department.
The majority of states allow selected non-state public employees to be covered under these plans, or under parallel plans. Such employees may include city, town or county workers, public school teachers or employees, and public higher education employees.
SEHP benefits tend to be comprehensive and are generally considered to be superior to health benefits offered by private employers. Most plans offer state employees a choice of three or more different health plans. In fact, 88% of all covered workers can choose from three or more health programs. In 2002, 5% of state employees were in conventional plans, 37% in HMOs, 42% in PPOs, and 16% in POS plans. SEHPs are typically offered through a commercial intermediary, most commonly Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
Many state employee plans currently recognize MFTs as eligible providers to some degree. Like the state Medicaid plans, there are many different products and services offered, so it is possible for MFTs to be included in some and not others. Also, similar to Medicaid, provider determinations are made at a statutory, regulatory, and policy level, so different interventions are needed to obtain MFT reimbursement. Some AAMFT divisions have successfully pursued advocacy initiatives in recent years to provide MFTs full recognition by state employee plans.