University employees’ health coverage and the AFSCME contract

Threat to your health coverage

Governor Rauner is demanding big cuts in health insurance spending, which for employees would mean big hikes in premiums or out-of-pocket costs (or both). All university employees, including faculty, can expect to see increased health care costs if the Rauner administration prevails.

The cuts are linked to ongoing contract negotiations with AFSCME (the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees). Those contract negotiations, due to state policy, determine health benefits for all state and public university employees.

The Rauner administration wants to cut the state’s contributions to workers’ health care by $700 million in FY 2016 and a further $150 million in FY 2017. These cuts would place Illinois dead last in the country among state health care plans, according to AFSCME, and state employees would pay more for their coverage than in any other state.

Details

Rauner’s proposal offers four options, all of which result in higher health care expenses for workers:

  • An employee could agree to double their monthly premium cost and continue with the same out-of-pocket expense as currently.
  • An employee could opt to pay a higher monthly premium and incur higher out-of-pocket costs.
  • An employee’s premium would stay the same as currently but they would incur greater out-of-pocket costs.
  • An employee could opt out of retiree health insurance, and until retirement continue with the same premium and out-of-pocket cost as currently.

These proposals aim to shift health care costs from the state onto workers, to the tune of $3,100 per worker per year (on average). In other words, it is a pay cut in the form of a reduction in health care benefits. This change could go into effect for all state and university employees as early as January 1, 2016.

What you can do

AFSCME needs support from all university employees in order to stand up to the Rauner administration in their contract negotiations.

AFSCME is organizing a series of rallies to show that state and university workers are united in their rejection of increased health care costs. CFA urges its members to join other workers at a rally on Thursday, December 10th (reading day) at 5:30 p.m. in Springfield, IL at the Prairie Capitol Convention Center and to stay tuned for news of a local action.

CFA supports AFSCME as they fight for health benefits for all state and university employees.