Thursday, August 23, 2001

Official: retirees push up insurance costs

By Charles Wolfe
The Associated Press

        FRANKFORT — Teachers and other public employees are seeing big increases in premiums on health insurance for families and dependents.

        The increases are as much as 40 percent in some cases, costing employees hundreds of dollars more per month, especially in a dozen counties where there is no competition. An employee can sign on with the only available carrier or forgo dependent coverage.

        “Probably some of these folks will be paying out more for health insurance than they pay for their housing,” said Rep. Tanya Pullin, who represents a one-carrier county — Greenup.

        Personnel Secretary Carol Palmore blamed the General Assembly's decisions over the years to let cities, counties and regional universities withdraw their active employees from the state insurance group but keep their retirees in it.

        Because retirees have higher health-care costs on average, they drove up the cost of coverage for everyone else in the group, she said.

        Ms. Palmore told legislators Wednesday that forcing the universities back into the state group would be “the best thing the General Assembly could do.”

        “If a regional university is going to have its retirees in there, it needs to have its "actives' in there, too,” Ms. Palmore told the interim joint State Government Committee.

        The committee's Senate co-chairman, Republican Albert Robinson of London, said Ms. Palmore's suggestion was “the right thing to do” but unlikely, given the universities' influence. “Legislators are just not willing to bite the bullet,” he said.


Welfare reformers point to victories
Lebanon, Mason strap it on tonight
New boss, new address for Ambassador Reynolds
'01 game could be last Classic
Couple gives United Way $1M to help new moms, kids
Media join to face race issues
News execs put rivalries aside for greater cause
PULFER: Can you help?
Riot issue gets Luken riled at foe Fuller
Takeya's mother tries to be strong
Urban circus touches, inspires
Boaters beat crowds to best Riverfest spots
County awards oft-debated bid
Fernald study group ended over some members' protests
Sun hidden; fun apparent
Tristate A.M. Report
Truck driver dies in crash in Loveland
Hamilton police, fire divisions reach deals
Death-penalty foes appeal to governor
Covington hopes to widen downtown historic district
Kentucky News Briefs
Ky. gets $2M for DUI change
- Official: retirees push up insurance costs
Tailpipe tests again challenged
2 towns pick new top cops