By ANDREA LANNOM
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A freshly minted bill that would dedicate $29 million from the Rainy Day Fund to the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) Premium Fund to freeze the plan cleared the House Finance Committee Wednesday and now heads to the full House.
This money would not be subject to the 80 percent state-20 percent employee cost-sharing rule and would not cause an increase in employees’ premiums.
PEIA Director Ted Cheatham said Wednesday night that combined between general and special revenue, PEIA’s annual cost is just under $1 billion in total. This includes active members and retirees. Cheatham said $29 million makes it fully funded.
Gov. Jim Justice proposed the PEIA finance board freeze its current premium structure for the coming fiscal year, which he said will give lawmakers more time to come up with a long-term solution. Justice said doing so would cost $29 million.
“This is the most prudent step to take right now,” House Finance Vice Chair Delegate Eric Householder, R-Berkeley, said Wednesday. “We are sending a message of ‘hey, we are working on a solution.’ It may not be the end solution but at least for the next 17 months, it is a solution.
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