State officials say “immediate action” is being taken to ensure money that pays teachers and state employees for health insurance claims continues to flow. But that fund is fast evaporating.
At the end of June 2008, the state’s Health Benefit plan had just more than $470 million of surplus. But over the course of one year, nearly 90 percent has been used up.
The reserve’s been drawn-down due to state budget cuts and a smaller state workforce that pays money into the health plan.
Lisa Marie Shekell with the Department of Community Health says it will raise worker premiums by 10 percent and add several millions from the state’s general fund approved by lawmakers.
“I think the most important thing our members need to understand is that we will continue to pay claims, and the current measures we’re taking are moving to stabilize the fund overall.”
Shekell says the state has also applied for a federal grant that could bring up to an additional $100 million.
The state’s health plan pays more than 650,000 current teachers, state employees, retirees and dependents.