State House members to pay more for insurance

LANSING (AP) -- Lawmakers in the Michigan House and their staff soon will be paying more for their health insurance, the chamber's Republican leader said Wednesday.

House Speaker Jase Bolger of Marshall announced the changes, saying they will take effect with the new fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.

The changes are similar to ones that are included in bills pending in the Legislature. The bills would require many public employees in Michigan to pay at least 20 percent of their health insurance costs, or impose caps on how much public employers can pay toward health care.

"As we have looked at reining in the cost of government at all levels, one of the key areas has been looking at spending on benefits like health insurance," Bolger said in a news release. "We have been asking public employees to participate more in their health insurance costs to help relieve some of the burden for taxpayers."

The amount of employee contributions would range as high as 20 percent for House legislators and staff. The cost to taxpayers is expected to be less than the maximum caps included in the pending legislation.

"These are difficult times and the House must do its part to help reduce the cost of government, just as we are asking other public employees to do," Bolger said.

Published: Fri, Jul 29, 2011