“Did You Know?
During 2017, the state spent $3.3 billion on medical and pharmacy benefits. At the same time, costs have increased 5 to 10 percent while funding for the Plan only saw a 4 percent increase. In addition, the state has a $34 billion unfunded liability for retiree health care. This liability is a result of promises that were made for lifetime benefits but no money was ever put aside to pay for that benefit.
What Can You Do?
You can help sustain this benefit by taking control of your medical costs.”
Teachers and other state employees received those words from Dale Folwell, CPA in late 2018. Folwell is the State Treasurer for North Carolina. He sent that letter with new ID cards for the state health plan that is contracted through Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
Simply put, that letter was rather insulting at he time, at least to me and to some other teachers.
I could not help to think that in a missive meant to outline benefits to a person whom “North Carolina values,” I was also being told that I literally cost too much, was promised too much, and that it was my job to not be as much of a burden on the state, that it was my job to not put myself in situations where I might even risk becoming a financial burden on the state.
Folwell himself had to go to the hospital for COVID-19. Here’s a report from April 8’s Winston-Salem Journal – front page above the fold.
Here are some parts of it.
- “This is probably the most intense thing I’ve ever been through, and my message to the readers is that taking the advice from both federal and state officials is going to ensure the safety from all of us,” Folwell said.
- He went to the hospital Sunday, March 29, on the advice of his doctor after his oxygen levels dropped. Folwell said he only experienced the cough and breathing difficulties, and the other symptoms — such as fever — never appeared.
- Before being diagnosed, Folwell traveled out of the state — to the “hinterlands of Utah with friends and family — and made several stops at various North Carolina newsrooms and media outlets, including the Winston-Salem Journal.
- Two Journal employees self-quarantined after learning of Folwell’s diagnosis.
- Folwell said he thinks he got the virus in North Carolina, not in Utah, and said no one on his trip showed any symptoms. He said he is not sure where in North Carolina he got the virus.
Again, Folwell said, “taking the advice from both federal and state officials is going to ensure the safety from all of us.”
The day that that particular article ran was April 8th and it was after Folwell had recovered. But on April 8th, the state had a little over 200 new cases confirmed with COVID-19.
On July 30th, that number was eleven times higher.
And just a week ago, Folwell was wanting to help seek waivers for school districts that were thinking about going to in-person instruction when the school year started.
“State Treasurer Dale Folwell asked if there’s a waiver process for districts or charter schools that feel they can operate safely under Plan A, the least restrictive model that allows for in-person instruction.”
I wonder if he resent that initial letter about “taking control” of healthcare decisions to the teachers of those schools.