(1) As used in this section, the term “local governmental unit” means any county, municipality, community college district, school board, or special district or any county officer listed in s. 1(d), Art. VIII of the State Constitution.
(2)(a) Notwithstanding any general law or special act to the contrary, every local governmental unit is authorized to provide and pay out of its available funds for all or part of the premium for life, health, accident, hospitalization, legal expense, or annuity insurance, or all or any kinds of such insurance, for the officers and employees of the local governmental unit and for health, accident, hospitalization, and legal expense insurance for the dependents of such officers and employees upon a group insurance plan and, to that end, to enter into contracts with insurance companies or professional administrators to provide such insurance or with a corporation not for profit whose membership consists entirely of local governmental units authorized to enter into risk management consortiums under this subsection. Before entering any contract for insurance, the local governmental unit shall advertise for competitive bids; and such contract shall be let upon the basis of such bids. If a contracting health insurance provider becomes financially impaired as determined by the Office of Insurance Regulation of the Financial Services Commission or otherwise fails or refuses to provide the contracted-for coverage or coverages, the local government may purchase insurance, enter into risk management programs, or contract with third-party administrators and may make such acquisitions by advertising for competitive bids or by direct negotiations and contract. The local governmental unit may undertake simultaneous negotiations with those companies which have submitted reasonable and timely bids and are found by the local governmental unit to be fully qualified and capable of meeting all servicing requirements. Each local governmental unit may self-insure any plan for health, accident, and hospitalization coverage or enter into a risk management consortium to provide such coverage, subject to approval based on actuarial soundness by the Office of Insurance Regulation; and each shall contract with an insurance company or professional administrator qualified and approved by the office or with a corporation not for profit whose membership consists entirely of local governmental units authorized to enter into a risk management consortium under this subsection to administer such a plan.
(b) In order to obtain approval from the Office of Insurance Regulation of any self-insured plan for health, accident, and hospitalization coverage, each local governmental unit or consortium shall submit its plan along with a certification as to the actuarial soundness of the plan, which certification is prepared by an actuary who is a member of the Society of Actuaries or the American Academy of Actuaries. The Office of Insurance Regulation shall not approve the plan unless it determines that the plan is designed to provide sufficient revenues to pay current and future liabilities, as determined according to generally accepted actuarial principles. After implementation of an approved plan, each local governmental unit or consortium shall annually submit to the Office of Insurance Regulation a report which includes a statement prepared by an actuary who is a member of the Society of Actuaries or the American Academy of Actuaries as to the actuarial soundness of the plan. The report is due 90 days after the close of the fiscal year of the plan. The report shall consist of, but is not limited to:
1. The adequacy of contribution rates in meeting the level of benefits provided and the changes, if any, needed in the contribution rates to achieve or preserve a level of funding deemed adequate to enable payment of the benefit amounts provided under the plan and a valuation of present assets, based on statement value, and prospective assets and liabilities of the plan and the extent of any unfunded accrued liabilities.
2. A plan to amortize any unfunded liabilities and a description of actions taken to reduce unfunded liabilities.
3. A description and explanation of actuarial assumptions.
4. A schedule illustrating the amortization of any unfunded liabilities.
5. A comparative review illustrating the level of funds available to the plan from rates, investment income, and other sources realized over the period covered by the report with the assumptions used.
6. A statement by the actuary that the report is complete and accurate and that in the actuary’s opinion the techniques and assumptions used are reasonable and meet the requirements and intent of this subsection.
7. Other factors or statements as required by the office in order to determine the actuarial soundness of the plan.
All assumptions used in the report shall be based on recognized actuarial principles acceptable to the Office of Insurance Regulation. The office shall review the report and shall notify the administrator of the plan and each entity participating in the plan, as identified by the administrator, of any actuarial deficiencies. Each local governmental unit is responsible for payment of valid claims of its employees that are not paid within 60 days after receipt by the plan administrator or consortium.
(c) Every local governmental unit is authorized to expend funds for preemployment physical examinations and postemployment physical examinations.
(3) Each local governmental unit is authorized to commingle in a common fund, plan, or program all payments for life, health, accident, hospitalization, or annuity insurance or all or any kinds of such insurance whether paid by the local governmental unit, officer or employee, or otherwise. The local governmental unit may determine the portion of the cost, if any, of such fund, plan, or program to be paid by officers or employees of the local governmental unit and fix the amounts to be paid by each such officer or employee as will best serve the public interest.
(4)(a) A local governmental unit may, at its discretion, provide group insurance consistent with the provisions of this section for volunteer or auxiliary firefighters, volunteer or auxiliary law enforcement agents, or volunteer or auxiliary ambulance or emergency service personnel within its jurisdiction. No insurance provided to volunteer personnel shall be used in the computation of workers’ compensation benefits or in the determination of employee status for the purposes of collective bargaining.
(b) Benefits provided under group insurance policies pursuant to paragraph (a) shall not exceed benefits provided to employees under subsection (2) and ss. 112.19 and 112.191.
(5) The Department of Management Services shall initiate and supervise a group insurance program providing death and disability benefits for active members of the Florida Highway Patrol Auxiliary, with coverage beginning July 1, 1978, and purchased from state funds appropriated for that purpose. The Department of Management Services, in cooperation with the Office of Insurance Regulation, shall prepare specifications necessary to implement the program, and the Department of Management Services shall receive bids and award the contract in accordance with general law.
(6) The Financial Services Commission is authorized to adopt rules to carry out the provisions of this section as they pertain to its duties.
(7) All medical records and medical claims records in the custody of a unit of county or municipal government relating to county or municipal employees, former county or municipal employees, or eligible dependents of such employees enrolled in a county or municipal group insurance plan or self-insurance plan shall be kept confidential and are exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1). Such records shall not be furnished to any person other than the employee or the employee’s legal representative, except upon written authorization of the employee, but may be furnished in any civil or criminal action, unless otherwise prohibited by law, upon the issuance of a subpoena from a court of competent jurisdiction and proper notice to the employee or the employee’s legal representative by the party seeking such records. (8) Patient medical records and medical claims records of water management district employees, former employees, and eligible dependents in the custody or control of the water management district under its group insurance plan established pursuant to s. 373.605 are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1). Such records shall not be furnished to any person other than the employee or the employee’s legal representative, except upon written authorization of the employee, but may be furnished in any civil or criminal action, unless otherwise prohibited by law, upon the issuance of a subpoena from a court of competent jurisdiction and proper notice to the employee or the employee’s legal representative by the party seeking such records.