TRENTON, NJ (AP / CBSNewYork) – A study released Tuesday finds New Jersey’s public-worker retirement health benefits lead the nation in cost.

The Pew Center examined 2009 financial data in the United States. It found New Jersey has promised $66.7 billion in medical benefits to future and current retirees. However, the state hasn’t saved any money to cover the expense.

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WCBS 880’s Levon Putney With Pew’s Kil Huh

The study found that New Jersey’s unfunded liability is higher than California, New York and Texas.

The study also found 19 states haven’t set aside funds for future medical costs as of 2009.

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Research director Kil Huh told WCBS 880 that New Jersey has taken a pay as you go approach in recent years, but a demographic bubble would soon burst.

“There are a large number of baby boomers who are set to retire and the pay as you go approach may not be sustainable in the long run.”

Huh says states should treat retiree health costs like pensions and set aside money each year to pay future costs.

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