Monday, April 20, 2009

Governor Gibbons makes his move to cut health insurance for public service workers

Dear Colleagues,

Yesterday (2 weeks after the deadline for ordinary bills to be introduced) the Gibbons Administration introduced SB 415, proposing to cut state support for health insurance of public service workers in the Public Employee Benefit Program.

(This includes faculty, pro-staff state workers (including our colleagues among classified staff at NSHE institutions), public school teachers in some counties, and retirees from several local government jurisdictions, including retired Clark County school teachers and retired Metro officers).

The NFA has been active on this issue since last fall, in coalition with other public service worker advocates. Our efforts are clearly having an effect, as the Senate Democratic leadership has gone on record (specifically at the April 1 hearing about the PEBP budget) opposing the most draconian cuts that Governor originally recommended, based on the SAGE Commission, of eliminating all support for retired workers on Medicare and slashing support for non-Medicare retirees. Still, this bill represents an attempt to impose a significant increase on our out-of-pocket health care costs, and it is crucial to contact legislators and ask them to consider the impact of SB 415 on public service workers.

Considered in the aggregate, this bill would bring an increase of $900 per year for active workers and $1200 per year for retirees -- and even greater amounts for those workers or retirees whose families are insured on the PEBP plan. Moreover, this increase would be on top of the increases in out of pocket costs already proposed by the PEBP board, including an increase of $500 per year for individuals and $950 per year for families in deductibles.

Thats an annual out of pocket increase of $1400 per year for individuals and over $2000 per year for families for active workers and $1750 for individuals and over $2150 for families of retirees.

Thats a pretty steep spike, especially in light of salary cuts now estimated to be 3%.

Please contact members of the Senate Finance Committee (listed below) and let them know that while we understand the grim circumstances facing the state and we have shown our readiness to take on a greater burden for less compensation in a spirit of shared sacrifice, our state should not be making it more difficult and more expensive for people, especially retirees, to get adequate health insurance.

Please also recirculate this email to all colleagues among faculty, pro-staff and classified staff. And watch for further legislative updates from the Faculty Alliance on

In solidarity,

Gregory Brown
Department of History

Interim President, UNLV-NFA
(702) 580 7798

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