Public Workers Seeing Higher Costs for Health Benefits in California
California public sector workers are paying more for health care benefits as state and local governments face persistent budget shortfalls, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Currently, state employees can attain no-cost health coverage during retirement after 20 years of service. However, the state is trying to convince unions to extend that threshold to 25 years of service.
The International Union of Operating Engineers was the first state worker union to agree to the change.
The operating engineers -- as well as California Highway Patrol officers and state physicians -- also agreed to allow the state to deduct a portion of their salaries beginning in July 2012 to prefund their health premiums during retirement.
CalPERS' Health Costs a Target
In his budget plan, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) proposed eliminating $152.8 million in health premium expenses by requiring CalPERS to offer lower-cost health coverage, reduce benefits, or allow the state to do so.
Lynelle Jolley, spokesperson for the Department of Personnel Administration, said state health insurance costs have "reached the point where we can't sustain those benefits."
In June, CalPERS announced that health premiums would increase by an average of 9% next year for 1.3 million state and local government employees, retirees and their families. Officials are continuing to negotiate how much of the increase will be passed on to workers (Calvan, Sacramento Bee, 7/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.