JFAC has begun reviewing the health insurance benefits for state employees, including part-time workers who are facing big cuts next month. Legislative budget analyst Keith Bybee told the lawmakers that the executive branch is making the changes for part-timers as of the Nov. 14 payroll. Concerned state employees have sent letters to the joint committee about the hardships some part-time workers will face when their health insurance costs rise dramatically; some say they could end up with premium costs that exceed their take-home pay. Bybee said the savings from the change stay with the agency. Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, asked if agencies have the flexibility to not make the change, "to say, 'we're going to lose these employees?'" Bybee said, "The agency could, in fact, raise some of those part-time employees' pay to offset some of those premiums." Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, thanked Bybee for presenting the information, and said, "Obviously that will be a discussion item in this next session."
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