State's cost to provide free insurance grows - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

State's cost to provide free insurance grows

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Iowa is one of only six states to offer the option of free health insurance to state employees and a combination of increasing costs and lower state revenues has some Republicans calling for a change.

An analysis by The Des Moines Register shows the state's cost to provide health insurance has increased more than 300 percent -- $176 million -- in 10 years.

Republican Rep. Scott Raecker of Urbandale has proposed that state employees pay $50 a month for health care premiums, but Democratic House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines says benefits were negotiated with unions and cutting them would be unfair.

About 16 percent of state workers have chosen more comprehensive plans and pay part of their premium costs.

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