State employees get freeze in health care cost
HELENA — The state employee unions say they have been able to secure a guarantee that employee health insurance premiums won't go up in 2012.
The unions are separately fighting the state over a pay freeze that they argue was imposed by the Legislature in bad faith after they negotiated a raise with the administration.
The unions are telling members that the freeze in health care costs will help make up a little bit for the "outrageous" pay freeze.
The deal was reached earlier this week, but the governor's office says details still need to be finalized.
Since the state's share of health insurance costs is set by the Legislature, and won't be going up, the inflationary costs will mostly be paid for by dipping into the state's health insurance reserves.