Some state employees in Kansas will see a big increase in health insurance costs next year. Several coverage plans are available, and new figures show costs will more than double for some high-deductible plans. State officials say health care costs have been increasing.
Sara Belfry is a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. She says the state has been able to shield workers from higher prices by using reserve funds in recent years.
“Because we have really used up the reserve funding, we’re no longer able to utilize that funding to continue to keep the costs down for employees,” says Belfry.
There will also be increased deductibles and out-of-pocket costs for workers.
Rebecca Proctor is with the Kansas Organization of State Employees. She says employees on the lower end of the pay scale often choose a plan with cheaper premiums and a higher deductible. Those plans will see the largest increase, with one option jumping from $50 per paycheck to more than $130.
“It’s huge, and that’s how it has to be looked at is in perspective of what these people earn per hour. How many hours of work does it take just to pay that increased amount on the premium?” says Proctor.
Proctor says many state workers haven’t seen a raise in several years, so the cost increase amounts to a pay cut.