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State workers union doesn't like new health care plan

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – Union leaders in Missouri are not happy with a new health insurance plan adopted recently for state employees.

The new plan, which takes effect January 1st, will replace the current co-pay system with one that requires state workers to pay deductibles for doctor visits and emergency room trips.

Richard von Glahn is Organizing Coordinator for Communications Workers of America Local 6355, the Missouri State Workers Union.

"We are frustrated because state employees are gonna be faced with higher out-of-pocket health care costs," von Glahn said. "The Missouri legislature continues to choose policies that balance our revenue crisis on the backs of state workers."

But Rick Bowles, Executive Director of Missouri Consolidated Health Care, says sticking with the current system would have meant drastic cuts in benefits and higher co-pays, due to the drop in state revenues the past two years. He also says weight-loss surgery and infertility treatments will no longer be covered after January 1st.

The changes won't affect all state workers. Employees of MoDOT and the University of Missouri System have separate health care plans.