Georgia state employees and teachers will see an average increase of nearly 4 percent in their health insurance premiums next year.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the state Department of Community Health board approved rates Thursday for the $3 billion State Health Benefit Plan, which covers around 650,000 people. The new rates will go into effect Jan. 1, 2018.
The rate change depends on the type of plan those on the SHBP are enrolled in, with some retirees' premiums scheduled to increase by more than 15 percent while others will see decreases.
"In this climate, when you have health care costs going up because of prescription drug cost increases and more use of medical services by older people, 3.7 percent is not bad,” Georgia Health News editor Andy Miller said.
Miller said teachers have a powerful lobby, which may have prevented bigger increases.
"This is a political group that can mobilize against a candidate. Next year is an election year,” he said.
DCH officials say deductibles and co-pays won't increase. Miller said the state knows the importance of containing costs.
“Health benefits, in general, are something that are more valued than ever before, and employers realize that they have to have good benefits to attract and retain good employees,” he said.