Raleigh, N.C. — State Treasurer Janet Cowell said Monday that state workers and retirees won't have to pay the planned 2.14 percent increase in premiums next year because the State Health Plan is doing better than expected financially.
The health plan is forecast to be $180 million in the black by the end of June, contrasting sharply with its steep losses in recent years. Also, since lawmakers moved the State Health Plan under Cowell's control two years ago, the unfunded liability for retirees benefits has been cut by $10 billion, she wrote in a letter to Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis.
Actuaries for the plan reported that lower expenses could keep annual premium increases below 3 percent through 2017, even without an increase in 2015.
Cowell said skipping the increase would save the state more than $23 million for its portion of employee premiums, and she called on legislators to put the extra money toward raises for state employees.
“As you consider ways to enhance the compensation for educators and state employees, I hope that you will consider using these savings for salary increases,” she wrote in the letter.
Lawmakers have the final say on whether to increase premiums as they adjust the state budget.