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Report: Health insurance for Minnesota state workers among nation's best

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Minnesota state employees get more of their health care costs covered than the national average for state employees.

A new national report released Tuesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that Minnesota state employees get 94 percent of their health care costs covered by insurance. The national average for state workers is 92 percent.

The Associated Press notes the plan Minnesota state employees have access to is "...better than the plans most private employers provide, which are generally in the 80 percent range."

Benefits for state employees working in other states in the region vary widely. The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports South Dakota’s health plan for state employees is among the least expensive in the country.

“We do not have a particularly rich health insurance plan for state employees,” said Dusty Johnson, Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s chief of staff.

South Dakota pays an average of 89 percent of employees’ health costs, making the state's total less than all but eight other states.

But the Associated Press reports Wisconsin state employees have one of the richest health insurance plans in the country, with their state health plan covering 97 percent of costs. Only Connecticut had a higher actuarial value, at 98 percent, while four other states were the same as Wisconsin at 97 percent, according to the report.
The Pew report said Minnesota's state health plan spending rose by 2 percent from 2011-13. The average total premium per Minnesota state employee was $1,063 last year, or $100 above the national average. Minnesota's plan covers state workers, staff and faculty in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, and the Legislature.
Jim Monroe, retired executive director of the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, told the AP that state workers in Minnesota have chosen repeatedly to forgo higher wages in favor of higher health care benefits. He said their wages have grown slower than pay in the private sector as a result.

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