By JORDAN NELSON
During the third and final hearing of the Public Insurance Agency finance board Wednesday evening, teachers and other state employees called the 17-month freeze proposed to fix premium structures with their PEIA coverage “a procrastination tactic to get through until the next election.”
Gov. Jim Justice pushed the freeze last week, and said it would give lawmakers more time to come up with a long-term solution.
Many teachers and state employees expressed their concerns about the freeze, and that it is not a permanent fix.
The House of Delegates Committee on Finance originated and approved House Bill 4620 Wednesday which would immediately transfer $29 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to PEIA to guarantee there would be no changes to employee healthcare programs for the coming fiscal year.
According to the state’s House of Delegates Director Jared Hunt, the $29 million will be transferred to the PEIA Basic Insurance Premium Fund, and because it is being directly transferred to the specific fund, it will not be subject to the statutory 80-20 cost-sharing rule, and therefore will not trigger an increase in employees’ premiums in the coming year.
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