Republican State Treasurer Dale Folwell is going to take some heat for changes in the State Health Plan, including a rise in insurance premiums and an end to a long tradition of offering at least one plan with with no monthly charge.
Fowell, who as treasurer is the head of the board of trustees for the plan, said the health plan is spending at a rate that will deplete its reserve fund in two years. And, he says the changes will mean that the health plan can freeze out-of-pocket expenses — co-pays and deductibles — through 2021 and that premiums for employee and family coverage can be frozen for that same amount of time.
And, state employees’ groups don’t like the changes, with some leaders noting paltry or non-existent raises and the difficulty in hiring people for state jobs who have better offers in the private sector.
State workers might rightly be worried that GOP lawmakers will be looking at the benefits as a way to balance a budget with the wrong priorities.
Adjusting benefits once in a while is to be expected. But it must be something that happens only rarely.