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State workers could pay more for health coverage

Posted February 24, 2011
Updated February 25, 2011

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— State employees and retirees could soon have to pay for their own health coverage under a plan proposed by Gov. Beverly Perdue and being considered by Republican legislative leaders.

The State Health Plan, which provides coverage for 667,000 state employees, retirees, teachers and their dependents, is underfunded by almost $33 billion, according to an actuarial analysis. To get back on solid financial footing, the state budget and state workers would need to pump at least $3 billion a year into the plan for the next 19 years.

"It's a train wreck that continues to wreck at every crossing," Rep. Dale Folwell, R-Forsyth, said Thursday. "That's going to be sucking all of the money out of the state budget."

If the situation isn't addressed, the foundering health plan could cripple state finances within three years, lawmakers said.

"For about every dollar we take in in premiums, we're paying out $1.20 (to) $1.27," House Speaker Thom Tillis said. "That's an unsustainable model. That's a recipe for disaster."

In the budget she proposed last week, Perdue suggested that state employees and retirees in the most popular plan pay $16 to $21.50 a month for individual coverage. Traditionally, individual coverage has been provided free, and workers paid to cover spouses and dependents.

Lawmakers said they might ask employees to pay even more.

"I think the governor has stepped up and is willing to work with us to solve the problem," Tillis said. "(Paying for individual coverage) has to be one of the options we look at."

Money generic, dollars State workers could pay more for health coverage

State workers aren't thrilled with the idea.

"I don't mind paying for health insurance if they want to pay me what the private sector was paying me," state employee Jenny Critcher said.

"That's going to hit the pocketbook quite a bit," state employee Cathy McCormick said.

Republican legislative leaders said they're also developing other reforms and new plans.

"How can the largest purchaser of something not do it better and cheaper than anybody else can?" Folwell asked.

"Unlike what past legislatures have done, which is kick the can down the road, we're going to solve the problem," Tillis said.

Lawmakers are also looking to address concerns and make changes to the state pension plan, such as having a minimum retirement age.

61 Comments

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  • woodsfirenc525 Mar 1, 2011

    OK..Our legislative leaders need to take a pay cut!!!They want state employees to pay for health care and also cut there pay. What makes the legislative leaders better than everyday state employees. They even get there salary after they leave if i heard right. They should be putting money into the retirement plan too if they aren't. Our legislative leaders in NC are our reps, not there to make a large salary, with an expense acct..Does anyone pay for your business supplies or meals? Give them each 20k for there service...Then cut the State sales tax a few cents, lower gas taxes and people will spend money again....To Dabink: 401k is a pre-tax take out, while the the deferred comp is taxed..

  • dabink Feb 28, 2011

    Can anyone answer this?......In doing my income taxes this year I've noticed that State/Govt employees may be exempt from taxes on their pensions and possibly their 401k's. Anyone have a definite answer on that?If they're taxed just like I'm taxed then I'm OK. But if there's a separate tax class for them.......

  • bonnie4612 Feb 28, 2011

    Proud Black Conservative, you are what is wrong with this whole country now. You are all about the money and nothing about the people. You are why we have so many unemployed. You are why there is no more middle-class. Its either the haves or the have nots. People are what make this country; poor people and average people. If the whole country were made up of people like you nothing would be done, because you don't want to work, just have people do the work for you. Its people like the state employees who do this work. Outsource it all to India and see how much gets accomplished because you won't be able to understand a darn thing they tell you. Good luck with that!!

  • piedmontinsp Feb 25, 2011

    ah ha ha ha
    People still don't get it.
    About 14 months ago a large group of us sat at a table in a restaurant and made bets that in 18 months the State of NC would be in a whale of a shape due to tobacco use being cut out in restaurants. We were a group of non-smokers opting to sit in the smoking side of the restaurant because we liked to talk to everyone on that side. Well, now there is no smoke BUT there is no one to talk to but ourselves because they don't eat out any more; they can't smoke afterwards. Hum, seems like this has hit NC economy in more than one way. The budget is stifled. My group was upset because we were all born North Carolinians and our parents paid for us to grow up by tobacco money or furniture industry money, both now a thing of the past. One of them said she paid $500 + dollars at that time for her husband to be on her policy. What the heck? Sounds like the insurance carrier needs to be looked at instead of cutting the employees benefits. That same gir

  • ddzierwa6 Feb 25, 2011

    since the people making these choices for us are also considered state employees will they be paying for their health care as well? for a teacher to add a spouse of child already costs close to $600 a month. who can afford for this to continue?????

  • amenmike Feb 25, 2011

    State workers...SHOULD...pay more for health coverage. Just like the rest of us.

  • Eduardo1 Feb 25, 2011

    My father has not seen a increase in COLA in 2010, will not get one in 2011 or 2012. But he has seen an increase in what he pays for in MedicaRE & his BC/BS supplemental ins.
    and like all of us, his auto gas is going out of sight, as is cost of food, property tax, home electric & gas, cable TV, jst to name a few items.

    Well, I guess the attitude is kill off the seniors, they do nothing for society. Remember the movie Soylent Green!!!!

  • sniperdiver Feb 25, 2011

    What else is new. No pay raises for state employees and more money expected for benifits. State employees are going backwards. Actually state employees are getting less pay, because there hasn't even been cost of living allowances. State employees shouldn't be expected to balance a state budget, all citizens of the state should be expected to be involved in the budget reform. Especially since they too benifit from state taxes.

  • Plenty Coups Feb 25, 2011

    "I am in the private sector and guess what, we have not gotten any raises either!"

    Well on average that's not true. The private sector has seen small raises the last couple of years and could see average raises of 3% this year according to the Wall Street Journal and based on surveys of companies. So again, why must public workers take all the pain? Here, check it out:
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703716904576134310758664604.html?mod=WSJ_hp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsThird

  • Plenty Coups Feb 25, 2011

    "I wish it were possible for every one of these hard-working people to walk off their jobs and leave people like YOU without the necessities that make YOUR life more comfortable!"

    I think state workers need to consider this. Seriously. For about a week, just for people to see what happens. I would also love to see some of the neo-cons on GOLO to experience life as a teacher in a classroom for about a month.

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