NJ.com reports that Speaker Coughlin has crafted a bill that gives teachers so-called “Chapter 78 relief.” This issue has been one of the NJEA’s top political priorities.
Here are the salient facts:
- The current plan is a “platinum-plus” level plan, which means that 97% of the cost of the plan’s benefits are paid by taxpayers and only 3% by teachers. No private-sector worker gets this sort of coverage. Most of the taxpayers who pay for these absurdly generous plans have 80% of their costs covered, while paying 20%, themselves (this is the “gold” level under the ACA).
- Overall, these platinum-plus plans cost $37,905 a year. What teachers do not pay for, taxpayers pay for.
- Prior to the Chapter 78 reforms, there was no requirement for teachers to pay anything for their “platinum-plus” coverage, and very often they paid nothing at all, with taxpayers picking up the entire premium as well as 97% of the cost of the healthcare benefits. Chapter 78 required that teachers pay 3-35% of the cost of the premiums depending on their salary level, thus tying teachers’ premium contributions to the very high cost of the plans and providing some relief to taxpayers.
- The NJEA wants to reduce what teachers currently pay for their premiums (by making it 2-8% of their salary) regardless of the overall cost of the plan. NJEA refuses to consider reducing the overall cost of the plans by having something less than “platinum-plus”-level benefits.
Ultimately, this means sticking it to New Jersey taxpayers, who already have the highest property taxes in the nation. This begs the question of whether the state of New Jersey’s is being run for its citizens or for a powerful special interest.
Thank goodness Senator Sweeney refuses to consider this raw deal for New Jersey citizens.
Read the NJ.com article here.