State Employees Benefits

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Gov. Bob Riley said raising state employee contributions for health insurance premiums is just one possible way of halting the uncontrolled growth of benefits.

The state will spend an extra $131.8 million on health care for its public school and state agency employees next year. That's an 18.4 percent increase, if employees' premiums aren't raised or benefits trimmed.

Riley said the uncontrolled growth of all the benefit packages have put a tremendous strain on state budgets. He said officials need to at least look at the possibility of trying to come up with a solution that at least curtails some of the huge annual growth. Riley said that might include raising the deductibles, co-pays or premiums that public employees pay for health care. He said everything is on the table.

The report in Sunday's Birmingham News stated that Alabama provided health insurance last year for 131,506 active teachers and other employees at public schools and state agencies, and for 58,123 retirees.