By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, April 27, the PEEHIP (Public Education Employees Health Insurance Program) board voted 7 to 6 to increase the monthly health insurance premiums for education worker and retirees insured by the plan.
Beginning on October 1, 2016 single plans will see a $15 a month rate increase. Family plans will be increased by $30 each month. A vote to utilize up to 10 percent of the PEEHIP Trust to offset the rate hikes was defeated on a 7 to 6 vote.
Former State Senator John Rice (R) said, “Those voting to support employees were Susan Brown, Joe Ward, Susan Lockridge, Charlene McCoy, Russell Twilley & Ricky Whaley. New interim state superintendent, Phillip Cleveland, abstained on both votes. Those voting against were Sarah Swindle, Young Boozer, Luke Hallmark, Bill Newton, Ray Hayes, Dickie Brown and Donald Large. Hallmark is the Local School Superintendents’ representative on PEEHIP, and Dickie Brown is the Local School Principals’ representative. They could have voted to pay these costs by using the income from the PEEHIP Trust, but voted with the Montgomery establishment instead of the local employees.”
The Alabama Education Retirees Association (AERA) wrote in a statement, “PEEHIP BOARD VOTED TO INCREASE SINGLE MONTHLY PREMIUMS $15/M and FAMILY $30/M . Those voting FOR INCREASE & AGAINST EMPLOYEES were Sarah Swindle, Young Boozer, Luke Hallmark, Bill Newton, Ray Hayes, Dickie Brown and Donald Large. Thank you Joe Ward for standing up for retirees and all those who will be negatively impacted by the action taken today.”
Teachers and education employees did receive a four percent pay raise that will pay for the higher insurance premiums. Education retirees however received no raise and haven’t in eight years so the combination of stagnant wages and higher insurance premiums will result in less household income for retirees starting in October.