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Tomblin proposal would ease pain for PEIA insurees

Charleston Gazette-Mail file photo by Tom Hindman American Federation of Teachers Kanawha chapter President Fred Albert protests at the Charleston Civic Center during a November public hearing.
Charleston Gazette-Mail file photo by Tom Hindman
American Federation of Teachers Kanawha chapter President Fred Albert protests at the Charleston Civic Center during a November public hearing.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Instead of severe increases in co-pays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums that were part of a proposed $120 million of benefits cuts, people covered by the Public Employees Insurance Agency should see small premium increases — if the Legislature adopts Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s proposal to increase state funding for PEIA, the agency’s executive director said Tuesday.

“That money gets us pretty darn close,” Ted Cheatham said of the governor’s proposal to increase PEIA general revenue funding by $43.48 million to cover an employer premium increase.

“We’re in pretty good shape if what the governor proposed occurs,” he added. “It’s still going to hurt employees some.”

The PEIA Finance Board will meet Thursday to adopt a revised 2016-17 benefits plan, based on the assumption the Legislature will approve Tomblin’s proposal to increase funding for employer contributions to the health insurance program.

Under a state law requiring an 80-20 ratio of employer and employee contributions, Tomblin’s plan will require a 9 to 12 percent increase in employee premiums, Cheatham said.

For single coverage for an employee making between $36,000 and $42,000 a year, that would work out to a $9 a month increase, from $83 to $92, Cheatham said.

For family coverage for an employee in the same salary bracket, the premium would go up $25 a month, from $262 to $287…

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