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$515 million proposal would save NC health plan

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By GARY D. ROBERTSON
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- North Carolina state employees and school teachers would pay a monthly premium for their own coverage for the first time and face higher co-pays and deductibles to keep the health plan solvent in legislation given initial approval by the Senate.

The Senate tentatively agreed Thursday to the $515 million plan over the next two years in a party-line vote.

The GOP-written plan goes beyond a proposal by Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue by requiring the premium of all active workers. It also would be required of retirees who use the more generous of two coverage plans. Those premiums would range from $17 to $22 a month starting in July.

Dependent coverage premiums would rise about 5 percent annually for the next two years.

A final Senate vote will come next week.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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you guys are funny

It's fun watching the working class turn on each other. The jobless taking out their frustration on the ones who still have a job. Rather than deal with the reason so many are out of work in the first place.

The rest of the details

I am a state employee, I have no problem paying the $22 / month for an 80/20 plan - employee premiums should have been part of the plan a long time ago. However, the state employee currently pays 100% for their dependents health coverage - there is no state benefit there. This amounts to $5000 / year & for many employees (state or private) that is unafordable. The plan proposed also eliminates an existing wellness plan where current tobacco smokers and obese workers are not eligible for the 80/20 plan but rather the reduced 70/30 plan. Why would this be discontinued? Statistics show these life styles cost the health care system much more - dropping that penalty will cost the state & tax payers even more plus shift their costs on state employees who do not make those poor life style choices. What is the Senate thinking?

re: The rest if the details

Rarely, if ever, does an employer pay for spouse/dependent coverage. What you may find is that an individual policy covering the spouse AND dependents may be less expensive than paying for spouse/dependent coverage through the state plan. One word of caution...Obamacare, or should I say "obamacrap" has led to no insurance companies issuing child-only health insurance policies.

As far as the obese and smokers only being eligible for the 70/30 plan...it's all about risk management. Obese employees and smokers are a higher risk and generate higher claims, statistically, than those who aren't obese and don't smoke.

arguing same point

To Taxpayer... we are in agreement on the smoker / obese issue - I don't think the State should discontinue the recent 'wellness' practice requiring them (smokers/obese)to be in a lower (70/30) plan & not eligible for the 80/20 plan. I do, however, disagree on employers cost sharing the dependent premiums when you state "rare", while it may not be the overwhelming majority of employers who provide this benefit -especially smaller employer, many do still offer it - though are shifting the cost sharing percentages. I'm looking at a NC survey of nearly 700 employers which shows employers pay 55% (on average) of dependent premiums and in a 2009 Kaiser Family Foundation national survey "on average", covered workers contribute 17% of the total premium for single coverage & 27% for family coverage."

once again check your facts

once again check your facts before spouting off untrue info. as you said ..."has led to no insurance companies issuing child-only health insurance policies."

What insurance company issues...

child-only health insurance in NC?

Free lunch statement is completely idiotic

I am a 20 plus year State employee also. Who do you think keeps inmates inside the fence, State Employees. I get sick and tired of the public thinking we get anything special because we do not. This is the 3rd year without a raise. Previously if we got a 2% it was taken because medical benefits seemed to rise in line with the raise. Seems coincidental does it not! Why don't you take your sorry but and work inside a prison for one day. But no, you want to think we are paid more than anyone else, have more benefits but that is far from the truth. Your raises are dependent upon your company's progress, ours politicians. State Employees, the rank and file members who actually work take the brunt of politicians mismanagement and Raleigh management. They are already at the top scales of pay while the lowly worker suffers. Political affliation is what gets you to Raleigh, not work or service. I wish State Workers would not work for just one day and see what happens. You morons who think we have it made would find out quickly you need us and we deserve to be compensated accordingly just like civilians are.

No free lunch for tax payer

I understand that state paid employees think that their jobs are the only ones in the state,but without the farmers,builders,factory works,ect paying taxes they would not even have a JOB.So when you have over 650,000 people getting their insurance and retirement paid by the tax payers it seems they need to look at it from the other side.If you don't like your job quit.Try working 30 plus years have to take early retirement lose 45% of your retirement and no insurance because and company sells out or either closes down.Still have to support a family and pay taxes so you can have a job.

The "free lunch"...

is over...thankfully! I imagine there are going to be a bunch of state employees that will bitch about paying $20/month in premium...while buying their $5 pack of cigarettes.

Congrats to the NC House for passing meaningful legislation!

Another uneducated response

If you truely knew what you were talking about you would know that a family or spouse policy directly through bcbs is cheaper than what the state policy offers, and offers cheaper copays and deductibles. Maybe you should be directing your frustration towards the people you elected for not obtaing a better group policy, rather than those that work to provide services for you at the elected officials direction. Remember that the 6% taken from the state/city/county etc employees paycheck( without the choice of the emoplyees to invest individually) for retirement is supplimenting/funding the budget gaps and "help" programs. That 6% could be used at home much better. Oh and if an employee smokes or is overweight benefits their are reduced. You might want to spend some of your spare time educating yourself and commenting based on facts instead of emotion.

I have worked for the state

I have worked for the state of NC for 20 plus years for peanuts. The only thing competitive about working for the state is the benefits. I work nights, weekends, birthdays, christmas, and other holidays while keeping you safe and protecting your right to write ignorant blogs on this website. If you don't have any respect for me and what I do for you at least have some respect for yourself and get a real job.

re: I have worked for the state...

I do have a real job...I am self-employed. I pay for my own health insurance and fully-fund my own retirement. I also work nights, weekends, and birthdays. I didn't say I don't respect state employees or what they do. You came up with that gem all on your own.

lets beat the educators they only educate our children

Yeah lets take a large number of professionals in which all hold bachelors degrees and many with masters degrees and beat them down. They are only the ones responsible for educating our precious children. Really, when you invest lots of time and money in getting a degree in education, yeah you deserve no premium medical care. Just another example of where our priorities are. Hey lets fund prisions more since we have cut education.