SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s debt for health benefits for retired state workers has surged to $92 billion.

The figure released Wednesday is $15 billion higher than a year ago.

That’s due in large part to higher expected health care costs and new accounting standards.

State Controller Betty Yee says retiree health costs now consume 1.6 percent of the budget.

She says those costs are unpredictable but they’ll remain a top state fiscal challenge for the next three decades.