AR Public School Employees Rally

LITTLE ROCK (KATV)--Rising insurance premiums is causing teachers in Arkansas to rethink their profession.

Earlier today, public school employees including teachers rallied as part of their save our salaries cause.

Premiums are expected to increase almost 50 percent!

Arkansas public school employees took to the steps of the capitol, rallying, supporting reforming and funding the employee health insurance plan.

"The story that she told me was that she carries her family on her insurance plan, her husband has cancer and one of her daughters has serious health problems," said Shelley Smith, rally organizer.

Stories like this one are often too common throughout Arkansas, one person in the household carrying insurance for the entire family.

As insurance premiums for public school employees are expected to increase by nearly 50-percent come this January, workers are rallying to prevent this rate hike.

"Keep attention on the issue, this was planned a few months ago when there was no talk of a special session," said Michele Linch, State Teachers Association Executive Director.

Linch, says back then, they were told a special session was near impossible.

Since, Governor Beebee and legislative leaders have tentatively agreed on a plan to hold next year's increase to about 10 percent, and restructure the insurance system to limit increases in future years.

"Very important for people to understand, this has nothing to do with the affordable care act, this was a crisis that had been in the making for several years now," added Linch.

On Friday, lawmakers circulated a package of draft proposals they hoped would meet Governor Beebe's requirement for short- and long-term solutions.

They planned to work through the weekend, to build consensus among legislators for both approaches.

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