For Immediate Release: 07/25/2011
Contact: Doug Porter, Director, Health Care Authority, 360-725-1040
Heidi Robbins Brown, Deputy Director, Health Care Authority 360-725-1040
Nicole Oishi, Deputy Director, Public Employees Benefits Division, HCA, 206-521-2017
OLYMPIA - The state's Public Employees Benefits Board (PEB Board) has approved health plan options that some 340,000 state employees, dependents and retirees will be able to choose during open enrollment this fall (November 1-30).
For the first time, those options include several consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) linked to health savings accounts (HSAs). Group Health, Kaiser Permanente, and the Uniform Medical Plan (UMP) will all offer this new plan design, with some benefit, premium, and cost-sharing differences.
The advantage of those plans to some are that the higher deductible and out-of-pocket maximum are offset by lower premiums, and subscribers are able to use the funds in their health savings accounts to cover their costs before they meet the deductible. Members also can allow HSA savings to grow for future medical expenses.
The state will contribute $700 per subscriber annually or a maximum of $1,400 per subscriber and any dependents in those accounts. Members may also choose to make tax-free contributions to their own accounts and can take the savings with them when they retire or change jobs.
Kaiser Permanente, Group Health, and UMP will also continue to offer plans similar to those they currently offer members. All of the plan options approved by the Board are effective January 1, 2012.
For the current plan options, many state employees can expect to pay more for their benefits next year, since the Legislature and the Governor agreed to raise employees' share of the plans' total cost by 25 percent in 2012. Employees pay 12 percent of the total cost in 2011 on average; in 2012, that average share rises to 15 percent.
The Health Care Authority is recalculating monthly premiums for each plan in the wake of last week's approval. Copayment changes for two plans required the review, which should be complete within the week.
For state employees, the PEBB Program's Part C and Part D supplemental life insurance will merge into a single employee supplemental plan starting January 1, 2012. This change will be reflected in the life insurance materials for members newly enrolling in 2012. Current life insurance enrollees who have Part C and Part D supplemental coverage will receive more information about this change in 2012.
For Medicare retirees, the Health Care Authority will no longer offer SecureHorizons (a Medicare Advantage plan) in 2012. Also, Group Health will offer only one Medicare Advantage plan in 2012, instead of the current Group Health Classic and Group Health Value Medicare Advantage plans.
Retirees enrolled in the PEBB Program's retiree term life insurance will see an increase in their monthly premium next year, from $2.19 per month in 2011 to $6.57 per month in 2012. This is the first cost increase in retiree term life insurance since 1999. The coverage will remain the same.
The Health Care Authority does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, age, veteran's status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.
FOR ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND:
The PEBB Program website has more details on the approved plans: http://www.pebb.hca.wa.gov/announcements/peb-board-approves-new-plans-benefit-changes.html
Jim Stevenson, Communications, 360-725-1915 email@example.com (Pager: 360-971-4067)
Michelle George, PEB Division Communications, 360-923-2771 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon Michael, Communications, 360-923-2764 email@example.com