Government workers in New Jersey may soon be paying for more for their health care, if a proposal by Governor Chris Christie is adopted.
Christie’s plan would be phased in over three years and under it, employees would pay 10 percent of their health care premiums beginning this July. Their share would go up to 17 percent in January 2012, 23 percent in January 2013 and 30 percent by July 2014. New employees would automatically pay the full 30 percent toward their premiums.
Government workers currently pay 1.5 percent of their salary toward premiums.
According to the administration, if adopted, the governor’s plan would save $323 million in the 2012 budget year, which begins in July. State Treasury Department Spokesman William Quinn said that when the plan is fully implemented in 2014, the state can expect to save $871 million each year.
Plans have also been offered by State Senate President Stephen Sweeney and New Jersey’s biggest workers union. Sweeney’s is also a phase-in plan over seven year and which would estimate workers’ contributions on a sliding scale based on income. The nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services estimates that Sweeney’s plan would save $206 million when fully implemented.
Under the union plan, workers would continue to pay 1.5 percent of their salary and 8.5 percent of their premium by the fourth and final year of a new contract, and is said to save the state $240 million.
Christie has yet to submit his plan for legislation, drawing criticism from some skeptical Democrats who see it as the governor putting off an inevitable independent evaluation from the OLS.