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PEIA plans big benefit cuts for employees, retirees

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With no likelihood of additional funding from the West Virginia government, and with its Reserve Fund already spent down to the minimum balance, the Public Employees Insurance Agency has no options but to make “draconian” cuts in benefits for active employees and retirees, executive director Ted Cheatham told the PEIA Finance Board on Thursday.

The board Thursday adopted a proposed 2016-17 plan that would cut benefits for active employees by $82.96 million, and cut retiree benefits by $40.99 million, primarily through sharply higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.

It also would increase retiree premiums by 8 percent, and increase premiums for non-state employees (participating cities, counties and governmental agencies) by 3 percent.

“These are fairly draconian cuts to the plan that are being made,” Cheatham said. “We can’t tweak $2 here or there to get where we need to be.”

State and public schools employees would see deductibles increase by $500 for single coverage and $1,000 for family coverage, while annual out-of-pocket maximums would increase by $1,500 for single coverage and $3,000 for families…

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