NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Thousands of people in our area depend on the state health plan for health insurance.
The program is paid for by tax dollars so keeping costs low is in everyone's best interest.
According to the state, 12,124 people in New Hanover County are on the state health plan, which provides health insurance for state employees.
State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell was on WECT's First at Four and News Now at 4:30 p.m. Friday to talk about how he's working to keep those costs down.
"The contract we just signed for next year saves $55 million," Folwell said. "There are no deductibles, no co-pays and it includes pharmaceutical benefits for our retirees. ... Your viewers don't consume health care. It consumes them. We're trying to fix these issues on their behalf."
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has been directed to cut the plan's medical provider rates on major contracts being negotiated this year by at least 15 percent. Read more about that here.
Folwell part of the $55 million savings will be used to freeze family premiums to make the state health plan more affordable for young families beginning their employment with the state. The treasurer added the state health plan is going to spend more money this year, including pharmacy, than is appropriated to the entire university system.