Senate budget ends health retirement benefits for future teachers and state employees

A few short lines in the 2015-17 Senate budget would eliminate state-paid health retirement benefits for teachers and state employees hired after January 1, 2016.

“This will negatively impact the state’s ability to recruit good, qualified folks,” said Richard Rogers, executive director of the North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees’ Association. “In the future, I don’t see folks sticking with state government for the long term or for a career.

Current law provides teachers and state employees with a paid health insurance plan for the duration of retirement. It’s a graduated system, said Rogers, so employees must work a certain number of years in order to receive the maximum benefit of a fully-paid health insurance plan.

The Senate budget provision, located deep in the biennial proposal that was released and passed by Senators this week, would affect teachers and state employees who join the workforce after January 1, 2016 by eliminating the health insurance benefit altogether.


The provision also affects those who stop out of the workforce and withdraw their retirement benefits from the state system, then re-join the workforce after January 1, 2016. Those state employees would also forfeit their retiree health insurance benefits.

The retiree state health plan provides health care coverage to more than 685,000 teachers, state employees, retirees, current and former lawmakers, state university and community college personnel, state hospital staff and their dependents, according to the plan’s website.

The General Assembly is expected to spend the rest of the summer hammering out a final 2015-17 budget for the state. Stay tuned to see if the Senate’s proposal to axe retirement health benefits for teachers and state employees makes it past the cutting room floor.


  1. Ben Day

    June 19, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Forty years of progress destroyed in less than two years. Do the math!

  2. Jim Davies

    June 19, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Run teachers, as quickly as you are able. Go somewhere where you will be appreciated!

  3. Sandra Peterson

    June 19, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Well, I guess you just sealed the fact that my son, nor any of his friends, that will be going into the teaching force in the year of 2016, will be teaching in NC. How much more are you going to do to the education in NC? We are already at the bottom, due to the fact that we are losing great teachers to others states. Really, get your priorities in the right order. Our children and their education should come first.

  4. Troy

    June 19, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    This year I had the privilege of being the President of Appalachian State’s Education Club, Appalachian Educators. Throughout the year I worked with hundreds of education majors that grew up in NC and are passionate about education in our state. In this club I met people who are enthralled with their subject matter and want to create a spark for learning. More importantly, however, I worked with people who love kids and want to see them reach their fullest potential. I can assure you my generation isn’t going into teaching for the pay. When it all comes down to it, this is is about future generations and their success. It’s a shame that a great majority of my club members are considering out of state teaching positions after graduating, but who could blame them? Our representatives are ripping apart the education system bit by bit.

  5. Anne Lewis

    June 19, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Every legislator should spend some time in the classroom actively participating in at least a full week of classes. This experience would show them the necessity of having teacher assistants and the wisdom of paying teachers in NC a decent wage. I taught high school and community college for 30 years and the love of teaching is important but so is the ability to pay bills. NC used to be a state that I was proud to say, “I am a NC teacher and the State of NC really looks after its teachers.” I don’t think that statement will be true in the future. My heart is breaking.

  6. Craig miller

    June 19, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Please send names of those who voted for this.

  7. Dianne

    June 19, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    So I guess that shoud also mean. That the governor etc…. Should not travel and make speeches during their 9 – 5 workdays.

  8. Tracy Deyton

    June 19, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Who proposed this amendment? I’d really like to know which specific senators supported this.

  9. Lindsay Wagner

    June 19, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    I have not received any return calls from the Senators I have contacted seeking comment. Because it is in the budget bill, it’s hard to know who originally came up with the provision.

    For a list of Senators who voted for passing the budget, visit:

  10. Bob Stevens

    June 19, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    Why do we keep electing these fools? They are evil. We have the power to stop them. It’s called Election Day.

  11. Sara Benfield

    June 19, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    To those who made this proposal, what does North Carolina have to offer compared to other states? Why would one pursue this state verses other states when their is higher pay, higher long term benefits, and appreciation to their employees?

    Teaching is a service profession with sacrifice day in and day out. Why disrespect the special hearts that are trying to impact the precious lives of North Carolina’s younger citizens? Think beyond yourself and look at the bigger picture. Think of students in classrooms, the teacher instructing, leading, and guiding their career paths. Keep in mind the rippling effect of this legislation. When will it stop?

    Finally, please tell me why this is beneficial to the people? Every child in North Carolina is under law to attend a school. At that school, they will be instructed under a teacher who is under this legislation. Mind you, those teachers aren’t numbers, they love and care for, and desire for that child to become the best they can. However, under this legislation, the teacher quality will be diminished because the great state of North Carolina cannot offer any decent teacher the benefits he/she deserves. This legislation is sacrificing student education. To the creators of this proposal, you probably didn’t aspire to be a teacher, so you don’t think like one. Just please remember, at one time, we we’re all students too. If this legislation or any similar passes, the quality education you received will soon no longer be available in the North Carolina school system.

  12. Pertains!

    June 20, 2015 at 7:16 am

    This will eliminate all state employees from being able to purchase their insurance from the larger pool which is hopefully less expensive.
    It looks like all the other state employees would make some noise over this also. Does this include the governor and the idiots who are destroying NC with ever law they pass?

  13. Johnnie Shane

    June 20, 2015 at 8:54 am

    This is preposterous. Most employers offer some kind of insurance program whether full paid or participatory. Please notice limit to political activities.

  14. Annette

    June 20, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Its a sad day when we can’t depend on one of our own, born and raised in North Carolina not to return the favor….of a good education!!! Senator Harry Brown…stop and think, get out from behind your desk and get into the classrooms!!! Please take your suit off and experience the field you are destroying. This is your grandchildren’s future we are talking about…and mine. It would only take a week of your time for you to regroup and put the money back in the future of our “caregivers”.

    PLEASE STOP ALL ACTION of the proposed budget until you give this matter “hands on” experience. I am of your generation, yes, we managed in a classroom of 25 students with one teacher.WITH no teacher assistant, we are not there anymore!…We need an extra body to be the “Parent” of discipline, WHILE parents are home today collecting government benefits(they have more children to increase their pay) Thanks for thinking of teachers by offering smaller numbers in classrooms, in place of their pay and retirement benefits. This is not the answer!! How many times do you go to the bathroom, how many times do you walk out of your office a day? How many nights do you work until midnight on strategies to get “Little Johnny” one more way to be interested in learning…How many times do you loose sleep because “Little Sally” tells you her mommy won’t wake up to fix her breakfast in the morning or pack her lunch for school? Mr. Brown…please remember your past and the future of our children…Please don’t let the bottom dollar be…how much money we save the state be your goal, you may need “Our CNA’s, our Nurse Assistance to turn you over in your bed to keep you from getting bed sores on your bottom!!!!

  15. Sylvia

    June 20, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Tell,me at what age the state gives free health benefits if you are already retired? I have over thirty (30) yrs. Thanks

  16. Tom

    June 20, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    No one except retired military should have paid for health in retirement. Why ? Because they took an oath to forfeit their lives if necessary for US.

  17. Marshal Walker

    June 20, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    This is the most corrupt bunch of people I ever remember being in Raleigh. I am neither republican or democrat so to speak, but with some of the cuts made in the budget and the way it was passed disturbs me greatly. Phil Berger, the senate leader stated the budget needed to be passed before the end of June. Because of their actions taking so long to agree to the budget, he stated there was not enough time to present the budget to the public to review or discuss items in the budget. This is not the fault of any of the people and a direct violation of State Law. Every town and county in the State is required to give their citizens the opportunity to view and comment on their budgets before approval. Mr. Berger, the Governor and anyone who voted in this manner should be eliminated from our government.

  18. emily

    June 20, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    In a few short years, our state legislative powers have demolished the future of education and of educators in our state, taking the likelihood of our children’s success with them. I have been a North Carolinian for my entire life, but with the bigotry and lack of concern for the future, combined with the zeal to please those interested only in the instant-gratification world of potentially lower taxes for the already wealthy, my pride in this once great state has waned to the point of general contempt. How can lawmakers turn a blind eye to the destruction they are laying to our state? Unbelievable.

  19. Sara Reynolds

    June 20, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Then don’t teach in VA. Retired teachers there pay at least $500 a month for individual health care.. Always have.
    NC needs to change the law that allows anyone who teaches for five years to be vested in health care system. Ridiculous! . I think it should be twenty years. Most states don’t allow that at all.

  20. Alice Perkins

    June 20, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    I have one thing to say…keep voting for the Republican party, you haven’t seen anything yet!

  21. George

    June 20, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    I’m sorry, this is happening because teachers are allowing it. It’s obvious that the Governor and his team doesn’t care about them. It is time for the teachers for NC to stand up, and show what can they do together, just a couple of days, believe me you don’t need more…I assure you the Governor will find the $$$$ to fix this unfair situation.

  22. Jonathan

    June 20, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Agree w/ Pertains
    So if this passes what about the future of all state job, our Teachers, Correctional Officers, etc. are way underpaid. Our next Governor, or the next, will they get their insurance paid (YES) but not the ones in the trenches. If we don’t have great Teachers to teach our children we have lost all of the upcoming Generation…

  23. hop

    June 20, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    I think the suits should work in road maintenance. Shovel asphalt. Shovel dirt. Operate trucks and equipment. Stand on side of the road and direct traffic. See how states work is done before they make a decision.

  24. Trecia

    June 20, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Thank you so much North Carolina. This means that Georgia will get some wonderful new teachers because I GUARANTEE you that you will have ZERO new hires. Teaching is the hardest, longest hours worked, lowest paid, worst benefits, lowest prestige, most difficult (did I say that already) job you could possibly have. The only advantage is working with children you love and reaping those rewards, and stable benefits and retirement. Now it seems that Legislatures everywhere (read Republicans) are dismantling those benefits as fast as they can.

  25. Deb

    June 20, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    What these State elected officials, is without a doubt, sending the message to all North Carolians that education is NOT THIS REPUBLICAN CONTROLLED STATE GOVERNMENT’S priority!! I use to recruit teachers for the school district where I worked for over 35 years. The benefits offered to potential employees was THE GREATEST benefit. With no more longevity stipend FOR LOYAL EMPLOYEES, coupled with NO paid health insurance UPON RETIREMENT…..trying to get the best and brightest new teachers to come to our district is DEAD IN THE WATER! Signing teachers with what NC has done to the benefits and is doing will be a

  26. Jason

    June 21, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Damn. Why would you want to even be a state employee? They are taking away the few reasons a person has to hang on. Job security isn’t even a near certainty anymore with the state. Few raises especially since 2006. Tremendously reduced health benefits. State employees need to bail.

  27. Glynn

    June 21, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Anne – no just spend a week in a classroom, but have to do it the same way a teacher does, no cell phone use all day, 5 min. bathroom breaks, 20 min. lunch break w/ duty – arriving early to be 1st in line for the copier or staying late to cover the basketball ticket booth.

    Troy – I hope you can convince the club members to vote these fools out before they leave us forever, I spend 14 yrs. in the classroom & i SMFH overtime these ass-hats do something else to destroy public education so their for profit education pals can make more money & destroy our schools further.

    Sandra – PLASE make sure your son & friends understand the basis of this – to destroy public education & create for profit schools where teachers are the least important aspect of the school, the paying parents are –

  28. Glynn

    June 21, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    EDIT to previous post –

    Anne – not just spend …..

  29. Saundra Smith

    June 21, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    What is going on General Assembly? Are you trying to see just how much damage you can do to our educational and state employee system. All the progress that has been made, you are destroying. Be ashamed!

  30. Ada

    June 22, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    There’s nothing new about any of these events. In the early 1960’s when I graduated from college, ECU graduates migrated by droves to other states for higher pay. Will the time come when N. C. public schools will not be able to open in the fall because of lack of
    qualified teachers? This financial stripping of our teachers of deserved recompense appears to be deliberate. What is the game? And what is the payoff?

  31. John Street

    June 22, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    It’s about more than just teachers. You have state workers , Highway patrol , Prison workers. We all try to get the right number of years so we can retire at a decent age. But little by little our benefits are being took away. All those in Raleigh are wicked. Don’t matter what part of the political party you may claim. The democrats are thieves and the Republicans don’t care .

  32. Pertains!

    June 22, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    The evidence of a mass exodus of NC teachers is clearly demonstrated at the following site.


    There are so many teacher vacancies in NC right now the shameful budgets the “House and Senate” are arguing over clearly demonstrates Education is not a priority.

    Soon there will be no Psychologists , Speech and Hearing Therapists, Physical Therapists, Social Workers, Counselors, Registered Nurses OR TEACHERS willing to work in our once great state:-(

  33. Conservative Reminder

    June 23, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Teachers and Progressives, do not worry. You voted in your Great Liberal god, Obama, and his Obamacare plan. That will cover you: Poetic Justice.

  34. Pertains!

    June 23, 2015 at 11:22 am

    What does the Affordable Care Act have to do with teachers poor pay in NC?

  35. hopeless

    June 23, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    It’s a same old bull that’s been going on for years. No raises to keep up with the economy. Now this. As a state employee that leaves us with nothing but grief to have to spend your retirement on health care. It’s so expensive now as it is. I think that should apply to all government officials as well including up to Washington DC.

  36. Richard

    June 25, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    Talk about a violation of the Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) act. A teacher has been working for 10 years, stays home for a couple years to have a child, and they set a date to where the teacher cannot even re-enter to prevent having her benefit taken away. It’s discriminatory against women/mothers compared to the rest of the male workforce

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