Saturday, January 8, 2011

PEBP scales back proposed hike in deductibles

Goods news yesterday as PEBP Executive Director Jim Wells announced that claims made during the current plan year are running about $25 million below estimates. That means, PEBP is paying out about much LESS for coverage of public service workers' families than it anticipated. This means reserves will run more deeply than anticipated and the money can be carried over into next year, so that PEBP will be asking the legislature to make cuts that are slightly less steep than those approved by the PEBP Board in September.

Specifically, deductibles will "only" rise from $800 to $1900 per individual (instead of $2000) and from $1600 to $3800 per family (instead of $4000).

Thats a step in the right direction. But wasn't Jim Wells the same guy who told the PEBP Board last summer that PEBP suffered not from too little state funding but from "plan overutilization" by participants, who needed to become "better informed consumers of health care"? That was the rationale for the elimination of the PPO and the conversion to a major-medical only coverage model in the first place.

In addition Wells will now seek to reduce the dental cleaning benefit from four to two a year, and to use that money to provide some additional dental coverage (all of which would have been cut under the PEBP Board proposal of last fall). Interesting that this is one of a series of recommendations expected to be made by the NSHE PEBP Task Force report later this month.

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