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How The State Treasurer Plans To Tackle Growing Healthcare Costs

We spoke with the state treasurer as he makes moves to try to address rising healthcare costs.

Money is always a source of conflict. And that goes double for those who work in the government. So whenever someone proposes ways to do it, it's a big deal.

North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell has made two big moves aiming to cut down taxpayer cost for healthcare plans. He's ordered Blue Cross NC to cut provider rates by at least 15%. And renegotiated premiums for state retirees.

"Healthcare costs are something all of your viewers dealt with on a daily basis," he said. "What we're trying to do at the state treasurer's office is take advantage of our largeness. We're the largest purchaser of healthcare and prescription drugs."

And those health care costs are climbing. According to the treasurer's office, in 1985 the average person had $1,833 in health care costs a year. In 2015, the annual cost was $9,900.

"It's obviously a big deal. But unlike everything else your viewers do, when they know the value and the price of what they're getting, even after the consumer healthcare they don't know the value and the cost consumes them."

According to the treasurer's office, Taxpayers spend more on the State Health Plan than they do on the UNC university system. $2.85 Billion was spent on the UNC between 2016 and 2017. $3.3 Billion was spent on active and state employees health plans during that same time period, according to the treasurer. That number didn't include things like Medicare and Medicaid.

The treasurer says he's renegotiated medicare advantage premiums for retirees saving $55 million. "We're gonna use that buying power of our retirees and gonna be able to freeze family premiums for state employees again next year. The second year in a row," he added.

"Hopefully, at the end of the day, well get young healthy people in the plan, to offset people my age. And then we can move forward to have a sustainable state health plan."