The Pulse

State Health Plan Reform? Start with Legislators

By: - February 5, 2009 1:46 pm

There’s been lots of talk this week about the shortfall in the state health plan. State employees (who didn’t get us into this mess) might be required to pay 30% premium increases and have even higher cost sharing and fewer benefits. General Assembly members received a briefing for over an hour yesterday about the plan. There was plenty of discussion about which groups were costing the state plan the most money and so on. Not discussed at the briefing was the following option:

Eliminate the special state health plan access members of the General Assembly enjoy. North Carolina’s General Assembly is a part-time legislature. Being a legislator is part-time work. However, serving legislators get the same health plan coverage as full-time state employees! There’s even a special coverage group in the state health plan just for legislators who aren’t at retirement age when they leave the General Assembly. This special coverage plan enables former General Assembly members, at any age, to buy into the state health plan by paying the full premium. Depending on age and health condition, this can be much cheaper than what is available to the rest of us in the individual health insurance market.

Read the NC Justice Center’s full report from last year on the health plans available to NC’s elected officials. When waving the flag of “necessary” benefit cuts and higher costs for our state employees, General Assembly members shouldn’t avoid the opportunity to lead by example.

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