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Suit: State workers claim insurance denied, blame lack of budget

Gov. Bruce Rauner | AP file photo

A state employee filed a class-action lawsuit against Gov. Bruce Rauner and several other high-ranking state officials Wednesday, alleging the state’s budget impasse has effectively left some state employees without health insurance.

The lawsuit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court by Carrie Weeks-Kinowski, a nonunion civil service employee at Northern Illinois University. Weeks-Kinowski alleges that in September 2015, the state stopped giving nonunion employees’ insurance withholdings to the insurance companies, which stopped covering medical expenses.

Despite not turning over the withholdings, the state continues to dock employees’ paychecks, the suit alleges. The failure to pay, which in turn has left nonunion state employees to cover all of their medical expenses, was brought on by the continuing lack of a state budget.

Weeks-Kinowski alleged Rauner “suspended claim payments to insurance companies for about 146,000 state workers, retirees, and their families receiving coverage through plans where state funds pay for health-care costs” in September 2015.

A spokeswoman for Rauner did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday evening.

Illinois Director of Central Management Services Michael Hoffman, Comptroller Leslie Munger, Treasurer Michael Frerichs and the state Department of Central Management Services also were named as defendants.

The four-count lawsuit alleges impairment of contract, breach of fiduciary dry, conversion and violating the state constitution.

Weeks-Kinowski is asking the court to issue an injunction ordering the state to pay all past and current claims and fund the program “on an ongoing basis.”