John Locke Foundation’s Joe Coletti explains where funding for the State Health Plan comes from:

An angry teacher on Facebook wondered why those in charge of the State Health Plan “felt the need…to remind us that we are funded by taxpayers” on the new insurance ID cards.  Worse, a letter from Health Plan officials made it clear that only the barest minimum has been set aside to pay future health care costs for retired state employees.

First, teachers were not the only ones who received the new card and letter explaining the changes. Every teacher and state employee enrolled in the State Health Plan would have been notified. State Treasurer Dale Folwell wants to make sure that state employees understand the value of their state-provided benefits, particularly their pensions and health insurance, that can add 50 percent to their total compensation.

For years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has been featured on health insurance cards for teachers and state employees. That led people to believe Blue Cross provided their health coverage, not the state. Folwell thought the new cards would make clear, “The state pays 82 percent of the cost of your State Health Plan benefit. On average, this is nearly $500 per month per member or more than $3.1 billion per year…

…Kudos to Folwell and State Health Plan management for identifying the source and highlighting the value of insurance coverage for state employees and teachers, as well as the cost of that coverage. More employers should take similar steps to make clear what they pay for their employees’ health insurance. It may not be something employees want to hear, but it is critical information about the compensation they receive for their work.

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