Magazine article Government Finance Review

Benefit Costs Escalate

Magazine article Government Finance Review

Benefit Costs Escalate

Article excerpt

State governments and their employees continue to be faced with rising health care costs according to the 2006 State Employee Benefits Survey published by Workplace Economics, Inc., a Washington, D.C., economics consulting firm. As of January 1, 2006, the average total premium paid by states and active employees reached $445/month for single coverage and $1,017/month for family coverage. Thirteen states pay the full cost of health care coverage for individual employees, and just four states pay the full premium for family coverage. In most states, the amount paid by both employee and the state depends on the health plan and level of coverage selected by the employee; however, in five states -Illinois, Kansas, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and West Virginia - the portion of the premium paid by the employee also varies by salary.

Reflecting higher fuel prices, the average amount of mileage reimbursement state employees receive for the use of their own vehicle on state business jumped 11.5 percent from the previous year. The average amount of mileage reimbursement reported by state employers at January 1, 2006, was 39.57 cents per mile, up from the 35.14 cents per mile average reimbursement rate reported in last year's survey.

Other key findings of the report are:

* State pension contribution rates in 21 states increased in 2006 in order to maintain adequate funding levels and to compensate for poor stock market performance during the period 1999-2002. …

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