North Carolina state employees

RALEIGH (AP) — North Carolina state employees and public school teachers won't qualify to receive state medical coverage when they retire if they are hired in 2021 and beyond.

The alteration was inserted in the 2017 state budget law. Legislative Republicans who backed the change said it was needed to rein in future anticipated health care costs for covered employees, which are already calculated in the tens of billions of dollars. It's a problem that other states face.

North Carolina state employees or teachers who began work before Jan. 1 still qualify for retiree health coverage — either at no cost or at a partial cost, based on the number of years they work for the state and when they began. The future disqualification also applies to new University of North Carolina system workers.

State Treasurer Dale Folwell, whose office oversees the North Carolina State Health Plan, has warned lawmakers for years about the fiscal threat of long-term retiree health expenses. But he neither sought the 2017 provision nor was consulted on it. Still, Folwell is carrying out the changes, which he said will save the state money over the next 30 years, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported.

The health plan offers supplemental insurance for Medicare enrollees and regular plan coverage for those who aren’t 65 years old. Employees will continue to qualify for health coverage while actively working. The changes do not affect pensions.

Suzanne Beasley, a lobbyist for the State Employees Association of North Carolina, said dropping the retiree health benefit for new hires will take away from the decent benefits that rank-and-file state workers have expected over the years.

The state hired 17,705 people in 2019, and over 14,400 workers during 2020, according to the Office of State Human Resources. The State Health Plan covers well over 700,000 active public employees, retirees and their family members.

“As a career state employee who’s making modest wages, (to know) when you retire you have health coverage for your golden years, that’s a huge benefit,” Beasley said.

(7) comments

David Collins

The state health benefits for retirees has been eroded steadily over the years . Back when first created , there were far fewer employees that could retire and they tended to die much earlier . Health care was much cheaper as well . Times have changed and like the disappearance of the Do Do bird so goes the “free” health coverage . Just gonna have to bite the bullet and prepare for those golden years . Just like everyone else .

Just wondering , do the state level politicians loose their coverage as well ?

Future Biz OwnerResident

This is yet another system that is broken. If households have to live on a budget or lose their homes, why don't those we chose to represent us do the same thing? Is there no financial investor working for the legislature? And yes, the politicians need to lose their benefits also, paying for their predecessors' health care.

mpjeep

Taxpayer health care should have never been for retirees.. Obamacare for all.

drewski

The state retirement system will barely pay a pittance with 20 yrs service, not much better with 30. Teachers especially will consider this and take alternate jobs out of state. I expect in a few yrs or so with a teacher shortage this may well be modified.

David Collins

My wife is a retired teacher and up till a few years ago the plan worked pretty well . Ironically things started to unravel about the time of Cooper arrived on the scene . His relentless quest for Medicare/Medicaid expansion coincidentally , I am sure , resulted in increased copayments and denials of service . The drug plan is a joke . For example I pay like 2 dollars a month for one med , her plan has her paying 35 dollars for the same med . Fortunately Medicare kicked in and took up some of the slack .

noitall

Bureaucrats will always take care of themselves. Why not? The finances are a guarded secret. EI has the highest paid commissioners in the state . They passed on insurance coverqage and added it to their stipend.

David Collins

Why should Teachers and other State Employees expect free healthcare ? Do any other employers offer such a thing ? I am retired and have to pay into Medicare and my private coverage . This free stuff is rapidly going away nationwide . Just too expensive . If these folks think they can do better somewhere else , then move on . Do not think the grass will be any greener elsewhere .

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