All of the state's 12,000 retired employees will be required to pay higher prescription drug copays come Jan. 1 as part of a legislative effort to close a $10.6 million hole in the state's retiree health benefit program.
The change, approved by the joint legislative fiscal committee on Tuesday, only saves the state $2 million. The benefit program is at risk of running out of money by the end of 2016 if further changes are not made.
Committee members plan to meet in two weeks to discuss further changes, which could include raising premium contributions or filling the hole with general fund dollars. About 8,800 retirees are older than 65 and pay no premium contributions. Retirees under the age of 65 currently pay 12.5 percent.