Civil and Public Service

Changes coming to state employee health plan

Changes coming to state employee health plan

Maryland officials approved $16 billion in contracts Wednesday that are intended to change the way state employees use health care by offering rewards for taking steps to stay well — and imposing penalties for refusing to comply.

Rewards would come in the form of free doctor visits and procedures, while penalties for failing to follow medical advice could go as high as $375.

Most coverage changes start in January. The contract award, believed to be the largest in Maryland history, is projected to save the state and its employees $4 billion over the next decade. The health benefits plan covers about 255,000 state workers, retirees and dependents.

The three-member state...