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NCAE president wants state treasurer to stop ‘playing political games’ with State Health Plan

NCAE President Mark Jewell

With thousands of teachers’ access to health care at risk, the N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE) has called on State Treasurer Dan Folwell to stop playing “political games” with the State Health Plan (SHP).

NCAE President Mark Jewell said the NCAE is concerned about its members’ health being placed at risk as part of a “political power struggle, and we are even more concerned for the health of our members given the revelations of the past week.”

The SHP is operating under a cloud of uncertainty as Folwell pushes the Clear Pricing Project (CPP). He contends the plan will rein in high health care costs by tying SHP reimbursement rates for medical services to 182 percent of Medicare’s reimbursement rate.

“We are spending billions of teacher and taxpayer money on something where the contracts are secret. And those secret contracts have led to higher costs,” Folwell said in an interview with the Public School Forum.

Many North Carolina hospitals, including major ones, have not signed on to the plan. The deadline to do so was Monday.

“With only four hospitals statewide signed onto the program, and the largest health systems completely absent from the program, there would be hundreds of thousands of SHP members who are functionally unable to access quality, affordable, ongoing medical care within a safe or reasonable distance of their home,” Jewell said.

He said the additional revelation this week that the October 1 open enrollment date has been suspended until a date “that has not yet been finalized” is proof that Folwell’s “office has not sufficiently planned for this outcome.

Jewell requested that Folwell:

  • Communicate directly with SHP members in an honest and open way about the current state of the CPP contract process, including a full explanation of how we arrived at this current situation.
  • Fully explain his proposed solution to the current impasse, including a detailed timeline for implementation.

“SHP members are rightfully frightened and frustrated at the lack of information coming out of your office, and we feel strongly that it is time to stop playing political games and put the best interests of members first,” Jewell said.

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