(Raleigh, N.C.) – The State Health Plan Board of Trustees and State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA announced today that premiums for individual and family coverage under the State Health Plan will not increase in 2019. In addition, the plan will not use any reserves to cover the freeze.
The State Health Plan, a division of the N.C. Department of 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.
“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," said Folwell. “We were able to do this because we've been signing our contracts and not theirs."
The freeze for 2019 comes at a time when the Congressional Budget Office is predicting that Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, premiums will increase by as much as 15 percent next year. Treasurer Folwell and the State Health Plan paid for the freeze by renegotiating 2019 rates with UnitedHealthcare to provide Medicare-eligible retirees with Group Medicare Advantage Plans. The renegotiation saved approximately $55 million.
“This action is great news for state employees, retirees and their families," said Robert Broome, Executive Director of the State Employees Association of North Carolina. “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.