Sunday, July 18, 2010

NFA legislative alert on upcoming PEBP board meeting

This Thursday, July 22, the governing board of the Public Employees Benefit Program will hold its monthly meeting. On the agenda (PDF) is the budget for the 2012 fiscal year, including a long list of potential increases in cost for plan participants and cuts in coverage, including but not limited to eliminating the HMO option, increasing premiums for PPO option by 15% or more, doubling deductibles for families, cutting all dental and vision benefits except routine check-ups, ending eligibility for including spouses/domestic partners who can obtain coverage from another employer, and a series of cuts to other benefits.

This list, of course, follows on the cuts to our health coverage sustained in 2009 (which amounted to $55 million in savings for the state passed along to plan participants). It is the result of the Governor instructing the PEBP board to prepare a budget that cuts another $75 to $90 million for the coming biennium. That amount is, of course, precisely the amount that the Governor's SAGE Commission recommended to be cut from the health coverage of public service workers. This recommendation was rightly rejected in the 2009 legislature, and the Governor was rightly rejected in the 2010 primary.

But his budget will frame the discussion in 2011, and his call for such draconian cuts to health coverage for public service workers (including all NSHE employees) is the first salvo in what will be, no doubt, a series of such proposals over the next year. Ultimately, it will be up to the legislature and governor elected in 2011 to decide whether the state's budget is to consist entirely of cuts to public services and those who provide them.

The NFA urges you to attend, or listen to the meeting online, and to voice your concerns to the PEBP and, even more importantly, candidates for state legislature and governor.

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