Final changes to PEIA are heard by West Virginia Joint Finance Committee

By TAYLOR STUCK

The Herald-Dispatch

PEIA Executive Director Ted Cheatham speaks during a public hearing regarding proposed plan increases for those with PEIA on Wednesday at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena Conference Center in Huntington.
(Herald-Dispatch photo by Sholten Singer)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State employees will see a slight increase in health insurance premiums again this year, but some of those employees may see higher or lower numbers, depending on their salary.

Under the Public Employees Insurance Agency, or PEIA, all premiums will rise 0.5 of a percent due to the 80/20 requirement and the state increasing employer’s premium payments by $10 million for the 2018-19 budget year.

The new plan also moves from having 10 separate salary index codes for premium determinations to just five in $30,000 increments from $0 to $120,000. The four coverage tiers are: employee only; employee and children; employee and spouse (no children); and family. The family with employee spouse tier, where two public employees are married to each other, will no longer be offered.

Total family income will be used as a basis for calculating premiums in the “employee and spouse” and “family” coverage tiers. It will only be applied when the spouse is covered.

PEIA Director Ted Cheatham told the Joint Finance Committee during Monday’s interim meeting this was a form of a spousal penalty, meant to deter high-salary private sector spouses from relying on the state insurance.

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