State Workers Prepare For Insurance Increase

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By Josh Ninke

State workers across Alabama will pay more for insurance next year.

That has some concerned that these people won't be able to make ends meet. 

The state has had a hard time over the last several years to try and find money for state employees. With this increase in insurance costs it's only getting harder.

There are a lot of factors that are making state workers pay more for medical coverage, with higher premiums and copays coming in 2014. Mac McArthur, the executive director of the Alabama State Employee's Association, says one of those factors is there aren't as many people working for Alabama anymore.
 
"What you see with your state work force today, and that's one of the reasons this health insurance, the cost and the coverage is so important, you have employees that are being stretched more and more at work because people aren't there anymore. They've been retired or let go or whatever," said McArthur.
 
But what's the solution? State Senator Dick Brewbaker says it's a problem of finding money that the state just doesn't have.
 
"The general fund budget is always short of money. To fund a pay raise, it's not just for that year. It's for the next year and the next after that. There's just no revenue right now to do that," said Sen. Brewbaker.  
 
Alabama Democratic Party acting Chairperson Nancy Worley agrees there aren't funds, but she says that there are options out there.
 
"I think the state needs to be looking toward alternative forms of revenue to make sure that our most valuable workers that run the government, the ones that work in the schools and teach our children. Those individuals do not need to suffer," said Worley. 
 
McArthur says he expects this to be a big topic in the upcoming session, and years to come.

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