NCAE and other employee unions have tried to stir up support for reinstating retiree health benefits for teachers and state employees. Legislation removed the benefit in 2017. Reinstating the benefits was part of the NCAE legislative agenda for the May 1st teacher rally. However, most discussions failed to include an estimated cost for restoring health benefits for retirees – until now.
Estimates show that early costs for reinstating the benefits would be minimal, in large part because the provision does not affect anyone hired before 2021. However, five years after implementation, costs are expected to rise rapidly; up to $900 million in 2026, $2.7 billion in 2030 and as high as $8 billion by 2036.
How expensive is this proposal? North Carolina’s total payment for debt service in 2018, was $717 million. Within six- or seven-years costs will be in the billion dollars range up to $2.7 billion by the end of the decade. Just add that to the $ 6 billion we’ll need to implement the other parts of the NCAE agenda and we’ll be fine.
As of yet, I have not heard anyone say how they expect to pay for the program —but we’ll keep waiting.