State Treasurer Dale Folwell announced that there will be no premium increase for the State Health Plan in 2019 for individual or family coverage plans.
Folwell too announced that no reserves will be used to cover the cost of the freeze.
“This is the perfect example of using our ‘largeness’ to hold down costs for teachers, law enforcement and other hard-working state and local employees,” Folwell said. “We were able to do this because we’ve been signing our contracts and not theirs.”
The State Health Plan, a division of the Department of the State Treasurer, provides health care coverage to more than 727,000 teachers, current and former lawmakers, state university and community college personnel and their dependents, including non-Medicare and Medicare retirees.
The freeze comes at a time when Congressional Budget Office projections have Affordable Care Act premiums increasing by as much as 15 percent next year.
Folwell said that the plan absorbed the cost of the freeze by renegotiating the 2019 rates with UnitedHealthcare to provide Medicare-eligible retirees with Group Medicate Advantage Plans, saving approximately $55 million.
“This action is great news for state employees, retirees and their families,” Robert Broome, executive director of the State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC), said. “SEANC appreciates the willingness of Treasurer Folwell and the members of the State Health Plan to work with us. Treasurer Folwell has consistently followed through on his promises to hold the line on health care costs.”
During 2017, the state spent more than $3.2 billion to provide medical and pharmacy benefits to eligible state and local public employees.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina administers the plan, but claims are paid directly by the state using taxpayer funds.