State Rep. Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna, has proposed legislation lowering health care costs and while saving millions in taxpayer dollars.

The state health insurance plan which covers state employees, teachers, and higher education employees cost $1.6 billion in 2018, according to the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration.

As amended, House Bill 1366 would require the State Insurance Committee to contract with an entity that provides each enrollee with information online about the cost and quality of health care services and providers. It passed overwhelmingly in the State Committee on June 4.

“This legislation would allow our state employees more options to shop around and compare health care services and providers and rewards them by sharing savings generated by the enrollees’ choice of health care service and providers,” Sparks said.

Estimates show health care costs could be reduced by about 6 percent or $96 million for approximately 300,000 individuals who receive coverage through state, local education and local government plans, Sparks said.

“This savings could be used to reduce premiums and out of pocket costs for state employees and teachers, while improving choice of providers. This is a win- win for taxpayers and our state employees at a time when we’re all trying to save every dollar we can,” Sparks said.

Mike Sparks represents the 49th House District which includes part of Rutherford County. He serves as chairman of the Consumer Subcommittee. He is a member of the Consumer and Human Resource Committee, the Insurance Committee, the Property and Casualty Committee and the Naming, Designating & Private Acts Committee.