Arkansas teachers worry insurance premiums could increase

    10:55 PM, Oct 16, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Most Arkansas teachers are talking about what their future holds when it comes to paying for their health insurance.

    A possible increase in the amount teachers pay for health insurance is now the focus of not just educators, but lawmakers as well.

    "I was not even aware of this happening when I was looking for a position," said DeAndre Smith, a first-year teacher in the Little Rock School District. During the day you can find him in his classroom, but after school you will find him at his part-time job. Already bringing in two sources of incomes, he would have never thought it would come to this. "We as teachers need to know that there's going to be an increase, but 50 percent, we cannot allow."

    Unless something changes in the upcoming special session, a public school employee under the gold plan covering themselves and their children would go from paying $219 every two weeks to a monthly premium of $876.

    "The increase is going to drastically affect my income and it's going to make things harder if I am sick and want to go to the doctor. Those prices are also increasing, so it's going to make things much more difficult," said Alicia Bailey.

    Middle school teacher, Alicia Bailey said if the projected increase is as high as 50 percent, she will be forced to downgrade her insurance plan.

    "We're working with kids and we're doing one of the most important jobs," she continued. If the price increase is not offset, she's afraid it's going to keep people from pursuing their passion. "We don't make a lot of money and when you take into account insurance rates are going up like that, nobody's going to want to do this, and that scares me."

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