Public employees should contribute to their health premiums to help stem the steady increase in health costs for the city, a new report by the Citizens Budget Commission recommends.
Today, more than 90% of city workers are enrolled in health insurance plans that require no employee contribution toward the cost of the premium, the budget watchdog found. Requiring current workers and retirees to chip in for their health insurance would drive down the city’s deficit and bring New York in line with other large cities that have employee contributions.
“The city has an unusual arrangement as compared to the private sector,” said Maria Doulis, director of city studies at the CBC, and the report’s principal author. “Nobody is offering health insurance to employees and retirees on as generous a basis as the city of New York.”
The cost of health insurance for city public employees and retirees has skyrocketed in the last 10 years to $4.8 billion in 2012 from $2 billion in 2002. The CBC cites this growth as a major driver of projected budget gaps. While the total city budget is projected to grow 11% from fiscal years 2012 to 2016, health insurance costs will grow by almost 40% and comprise 70% of the projected budget gap in 2016.