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Public Employee Health Benefits Too Generous?

State and federal employees have managed to avoid many of the economic problems that have befallen their private sector counterparts. A significant percentage of them have seen their income increase during the recession, in addition to their job stability. As it turns out, their group health insurance is also more generous.

In the federal and state governments, employees’ health insurance plans are typically paid for in full by taxpayers. Unlike people who have employer-sponsored health insurance plans from private companies, public employees do not have to pay partial premiums. If you compare health insurance plans, those available to public employees often offer wider and more varied coverage than the PPO health insurance offered to the rest of the workforce. For example, they may recieve full health dental insurance, instead of the limited benefit plans offered elsewhere. Many of them also have their healthcare fully covered after retirement, a privilege most private sector employees lack.

How is this possible? Labor unions, which are far stronger in the public sector, were able to negotiate agreements that include affordable health insurance in their contracts. However, more people are coming to the conclusion that something needs to change. In a nation where millions of people are suffering without health insurance, does this group of employees deserve to enjoy that high level of benefits while avoiding risk and maintaining an uncommon level of job security?

(Image: robyn318 under CC 2.0)

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