News: Quick Takes

Folwell says freezing Obamacare taxes would save N.C. millions

Treasurer Dale Folwell (CJ file photo)
Treasurer Dale Folwell (CJ file photo)

State Treasurer Dale Folwell wants to save North Carolina nearly $400 million.

Folwell wants Congress to extend the one-year moratorium on the Obamacare health insurance tax, which hurt self-insured health plans like North Carolina’s. The tax also affects those with Medicare Advantage plans, and who are in managed Medicaid health plans.

“Three months ago we asked our North Carolina delegation to take the national lead in getting this sunset for another year or two,” Folwell said during his monthly Ask Me Anything teleconference with reporters. “They’ve showed interest in that, but obviously nothing’s got to the president’s desk.”

The State Health Plan his department administers would save $43 million if it got an extra year, Folwell said. In the current annual report, global management consulting firm Oliver Wyman said freezing the health insurance tax would save North Carolinians with those types of insurance $380 million, he said.

Folwell has plans for the extra money if the moratorium is extended.

“I will set about not just to freeze family premiums, but to start to lower them in the next two years,” Folwell said.

Compared with similar plans, North Carolina’s state health plan has one of the nation’s lowest family participation rates. There’s a reason.

“Our family premium is unaffordable for most beginning teachers, troopers, correction officers, DOT workers, and other kinds of state employees,” Folwell said. Generally speaking, the family premium amounts to five days’ monthly pay for entry-level state employees.

Folwell is optimistic he can negotiate lower insurance rates, in part because the State Health Plan covers North Carolina’s largest employee pool. Getting more younger, healthier people to enroll in the State Health Plan would increase its financial stability.

Doing so would make it easier to pay for post-employment benefits such as health insurance premiums and deferred compensation agreements, putting North Carolina in a better position to maintain its AAA bond rating, he said.