Taxpayers to likely pay for New Jersey unions' 20% health insurance cost increase

After hundreds of New Jersey public employees demonstrated at the state capital, unions there secured an agreement to limit the impact of a steep rise in their healthcare costs for 2023, meaning taxpayers are likely to pay the bill, according to a Sept. 15 report from Bloomberg.

The New Jersey State Health Benefits Commission voted Sept. 14 to authorize an increase in medical premiums for state and local government workers, boosting costs by more than 20 percent in some instances. 

The increases were first proposed in July, and initially, the committee vote indicated defeat for the unions. However, some groups reached a deal to cap their members' contributions toward the more expensive premiums. Those workers will only face a 3 percent increase in their health plan contributions, according to Bloomberg, meaning that public funds will cover the remainder. 

Gov. Phil Murphy's spokeswoman, Christi Peace, said in an email to Bloomberg that the governor has worked closely with state unions to mitigate the costs of this increase on state employees. However, she did not answer questions about how many workers were covered by the deal or whether the state is drawing on other funds to offset the workers’ contributions.

New Jersey’s health plan covers more than 800,000 public-sector workers, dependents and retirees. The state expects to pay $3.7 billion for health benefits in 2023, an increase from $3.2 billion in 2022, according to the State of New Jersey Budget in Brief.

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