GA teachers rally against changes to state healthcare plan - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Teachers rally against changes to state healthcare plan

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Thousands of Georgia teachers are attempting to stand up to changes in their health benefits and are using Facebook to get their message out.

It's not just teachers, either. 

All state employees who receive state health insurance, 650 thousand people all together, are impacted by the change. A small group of teacher's started the Facebook group, T.R.A.G.I.C., Teachers Rallying Against Georgia Insurance Changes, last week. It has now grown to more than 8,000 members.

The group says the state forced them to sign up for a new insurance plan and only given one choice,  which has higher premiums and less benefits. The plan was approved by lawmakers and the governor, and now, teachers say they are seeing the impact.

Some state representatives told WTOC Monday they hear the concerns loud and clear.

"We've got to deal with the cost of health care for state employees. That price has kept going up with no increases in income," said Democractic Rep. Al Williams, of Midway.

The Savannah Federation of Teachers, the local teacher's union in Savannah, told WTOC their phones have been ringing off the hook about the insurance changes which they say have nothing to do with national health care or "Obamacare". They call it a state implemented change.

"A massive change. Before the new enrollment came in, I received a lot of calls and complaints of not being able to afford the new health care plan that was implemented. Because they can't afford it, many are seeking other means like a second job to help support themselves," Theresa Watson, Savannah Federation of Teachers, told WTOC.

The Savannah teacher's union told us they were just learning about the Facebook group, but planning on looking into possibly joining as well. Teacher's from area schools, including Richmond Hill, have already joined.

T.R.A.G.I.C. is encouraging teachers and state workers to call the Governor's office and voice their concerns. They have a rally at the state capitol planned Feb. 18. 

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