- The Progressive Pulse - http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org -

Why State Employees Should Be Skeptical of a Premium for the State Health Plan

In the furor over the state health plan bailout, health plan director Jack Walker has consistently called for a new monthly premium from state employees for individual coverage. State employees – unlike many other workers – now pay no monthly premium for health coverage. Walker – and some legislators – argue that a new $10/month premium would bring in about $90 million a year and that money would be used to lower the sky-high premiums for family coverage in the plan.

State employees might have to look at paying a monthly premium to help save the plan but they have a right to be skeptical. Consider this – since the introduction of the state health plan bill in the Senate, health care special interests, specifically pharmacy chains and pharmacists [1], chiropractors, and physical and occupational therapists, have gotten amendments [2] to the bill that cost the state health plan $77 million a year. Another amendment added in the House Insurance Committee to change the plan year is estimated to cost $24 million this year.

So, state employees are being asked to pay $90 million a year in new premiums at the same time the NC House and Senate have added over $101 million in costs to the health plan – largely for health care special interests. How can state employees trust that premium increases won’t just go to lining the pockets of the politically powerful instead of really reducing rates for families?