Teachers want help with health insurance costs

Friday, January 11th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Hundreds of Tulsa area educators have money issues of their own, specifically how much they pay for health insurance. They met with lawmakers in Tulsa Thursday night.

Teachers say if education is a priority in Oklahoma, the state should do more to help with the cost. Teachers pay at least half of the cost for individual coverage, and 100% of the cost for dependents. Most educators say the expense devours any extra money from recent raises and that's why Oklahoma is losing so many good teachers.

A counselor at Lewis and Clark Middle School, Steve Stockley, "our daughter is teaching in Illinois. Not only did she sign for more, but she laughed and said of course my health care is paid for." Karen Dawson with the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association, "we had a call from a gentleman whose wife has been ill so he has to keep the insurance. He has three small children and he's gonna have to sell his car because he can't afford the insurance or medicines for his wife.”

The teachers are asking the state to pay 100% of individual coverage as it does for state employees. Some of the lawmakers at the meeting said they're already working on a bill to address the issue.