Iowa’s governor has announced he wants the 3435 state government employees who are not covered by a union contract to pay 20 percent of their health care premiums.

According to Governor Terry Branstad, there’d be a way to reduce that cost.

“If they’re involved in a wellness program and do health risk assessments, they can get $90 a month back, which means that they probably only pay about five percent more,” Branstad said this afternoon, “and it helps in our goal to become the healthiest state and have people take more ownership of their health.”

Every six months these workers would get a bonus that’s equal to one percent of their annual salary. Branstad is submitting this proposal to legislators for their approval. He estimates the cost for those bonuses would be $3 million next year. Branstad said it’s very similar to the new union contract for law enforcement officials in state government and to the offer he made to the union that represents the largest share of state executive branch employees.

However, an arbitrator decided the contract for state workers who are members of AFSCME. Their wages are frozen, but those workers will not have to pay more for their health care coverage.