Health insurance premiums increasing up to 200% for state employees, teachers

Many state employees and teachers will have to pay more for health insurance in a few months -- in some cases, 200 percent more.
Technically, the State Health Plan was decided months ago. This past spring, the North Carolina treasurer recommended the changes to the State Health Plan Board of Trustees. The North Carolina Association of Educators spoke out "adamantly" against the proposal, but the Board still approved it.
But now, members are starting open enrollment and seeing the dollars and cents in black and white. 
Howard Joiner is a math teacher. He says he and his teacher friends had no idea about changes to the plan until now. 
"Every teacher I talked to was not aware of it," he said. 
Action 9 investigator Jason Stoogenke went through the plan. Co-pays, deductibles, and family plans are all the same (with one minor exception). 
But the biggest difference is for individuals. There are now two plans instead of three. In the first, the 70/30 plan, employees who don't smoke go from paying no premium to $25 per month. In the second, the 80/20, plan, employees who don't smoke go from $15 per month to $50.
Joiner is on the 80/20 plan. When he saw his premium was going up from $15 to $50 -- 233 percent -- he thought there was a mistake. 
"I'm like, that can't be right, I'm thinking that can't be right," he said. "Imagine if your car insurance went up 233 percent. Anything else goes up 233 [percent], I mean that, to me, is just mind-boggling."

Action 9 investigator Jason Stoogenke will have a full report on changes to the state plan on Channel 9 starting at 6 p.m.