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Perdue, lawmakers strike deal on State Health Plan

Posted May 18, 2011

— Legislative leaders and Gov. Beverly Perdue reached a compromise Wednesday to overhaul the health insurance plan for state workers, teachers and retirees.

The deal would use reserves in the State Health Plan to provide members with premium-free individual coverage for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

The plan, which serves more than 660,000 state employees, teachers, retirees and dependents, has been in financial trouble for years. It’s projected to lose more than $500 million by the end of the next two-year budget cycle unless lawmakers make changes to it.

Perdue last month vetoed a bill calling for individual premiums for State Health Plan members, calling it a tax on teachers.

The House approved new legislation last week that also requires all active employees and teachers to pay a monthly premium for their own insurance for the first time. Premiums would range from $5 to $21.63 per month, depending on which of the two coverage policies members choose and whether they have Medicare.

After earlier insisting on premiums for everyone, the Senate amended the bill to allow the plan to offer the less generous policy to active workers and teachers without a premium for the next two years.

The Senate passed the bill 33-16 on Wednesday afternoon and sent it back to the House for a final vote, which could come as early as Thursday.

Jack Walker, the administrator of the State Health Plan, said the plan has an extra $40 million to $50 million in cash reserves, which should be enough to cover the move.

Because the legislation also shifts oversight of the health plan to the State Treasurer's Office and a new board of trustees, Walker recommended forgoing premiums for the first year and allowing the new board to decide whether to continue the practice in 2012-13.

“For years, the State Health Plan has been on the verge of financial collapse. Today’s compromise will ensure its future stability and manage health care costs for our teachers and state employees without raising taxes,” Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said in a statement.

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  • paulajacobs May 23, 3:00 p.m.

    I just don't understand that everything has to be about "teachers" Don't get me wrong I don't know what we do if we didn't have teachers but they are not the only state employees. I am a state worker as well and work with the Department of Corrections. So I thank the Lord for teachers but what would happen if you did not have employees that worked in the prison system. What then? What would happen if we did not have a justice system to place these criminals where they belong and no one to try and rehab these folks. So understand that there are more state employees than just teachers.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama May 19, 1:45 p.m.

    The problem that state employees are having is that revenue (tax collections) are down because of the great recession.

    The state has a choice. It can increase taxes like Perdue wants to or it can trim it's budget to live within it's means like the Republicans want to.

    Seeing that Human Resource costs are the biggest portion of the state government, if the state is going to trim it's budget to live within it's means, it has to lay off a bunch of state employees or cut their salaries and benefits.

  • lkanzig May 19, 1:30 p.m.

    Me! 10% pay cut in 2009, 45% in 2010. I also have to pay for some portion of my health insurance.

    State employees need to pay their share.
    boylan99 thats not even close to what i have seen for some state employees. i know someone who is paying over $600 a month (half of monthly take home pay) for insurance. how is it that fair to live on only $600 a month? state employees have it easy?? no from what i see. as far as you getting that done, you might want to look somewhere else for a job if you are private sector, i have not heard of any company that can do that and get away with it.

  • daveinnc67 May 19, 12:50 p.m.

    You worry about paying a couple dollars for health insurance. My concern is that 80% of my tax dollars go to support education and we dont have children. We get absolutely nothing in return for 80 per cent of our state and county taxes. Lets do away with the public education welfare program and then we can have some real dollars for other things. People with children should pay for their mistakes.
    superman
    May 18, 2011 4:50 pm

    I would like to thank you for helping me pay for the gas to get my 2 kids to school and home everyday

  • ctya May 19, 12:17 p.m.

    catchfinally
    you are do correct

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama May 19, 12:13 p.m.

    The ones that I feel sorry for are the teachers.

    I know many who voted for Perdue because the NCAE told them that Perdue would protect them.

    The way things are going, the teachers are going to vote against Perdue next time no matter what the NCAE tells them to do.

  • dplbud8 May 19, 12:10 p.m.

    Hey DontLikeTheSocialistObama,
    Fact: Most IT people here do their job and do it well. I'm sure their are NO slackers where you work? Most state contracts put out over a certain $ amount have to be put out for bid. We don't get to pick and choose, it's setup buy OUR government. So, before you you say people can't do their job, AGAIN YOU don't have all your facts. AMAZING!

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama May 19, 12:10 p.m.

    "I am one of the 45000 and I have no health insurance which cost me absolutely nothing"

    Send Perdue a thank you note for your situation. All she has to do is withdraw the veto and you're good.

  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC May 19, 12:00 p.m.

    "I am one of the 45000 and I have no health insurance which cost me absolutely nothing"

    So you are getting exactly what you pay for.

  • 1 awesome Dad May 19, 11:51 a.m.

    I am one of the 45000 and I have no health insurance which cost me absolutely nothing

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