The Department of Administrative Services has recently recalculated the retirees’ health care projections and has estimated a potential $9 million to $10 million shortfall in the budget, due in large part to the explosive growth in prescription drug prices.
As with all state agencies, Administrative Services is not permitted to expend more than what has been budgeted and will be proposing changes to the under-65 and over-65 retiree health plan to the Fiscal Committee when it meets on Friday, Sept. 25. There is potential for increased out-of-pocket costs if the state raises the premiums and deductibles for office visits and prescription medication.
Please call, email or visit the members of the Fiscal Committee before the 25th. We’ve supplied the following talking points to get the conversation started, but it’s important that you put them in your own words and explain how the changes would affect you.
- Since 2008, retirees have seen increases in premiums for health insurance that was promised when they went to work for the state and was supposed to be for no cost.
- Working with the state, retirees have been able to keep the health care costs below the national rate of inflation through the use of generic prescriptions and low cost providers.
- The average state employee pension is just $1,000 per month and there has not been a COLA granted for the last six years and there is no COLA anticipated in the near future. Even small increases in out of pocket costs have devastating consequences.
- Simply shifting the costs on to the backs of the dedicated state employees who made their employment decisions based on promised health care is not the right answer to the budget problems. We have shared in picking up the costs in the past but without COLA’s, there is no way we can absorb the entire shortfall.