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W.Va. PEIA to seek $40 million in benefit cuts

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Public Employees Insurance Agency needs to cut health-care benefits by $40 million next year — and will let insurees vote on what benefits to cut.

“We’re going to ask our constituents how they want these $40 million of benefit cuts distributed,” PEIA Executive Director Ted Cheatham said Thursday.

PEIA Finance Board members on Thursday approved a menu of possible cuts to take out to public hearings statewide next month, before a December vote on the 2015-16 benefits package.

As approved Thursday, the new plan would need to cut $30 million in benefits for active employees, $3 million for county and municipal employees covered by PEIA, $4.5 million for pre-65 retirees and $4 million for Medicare retirees.

For active employees, the menu of cuts includes increasing out-of-pocket maximums for family coverage, increasing deductibles, increasing primary- care office visit co-pays by $5 to $20, increasing specialist office visit co-pays by $15 to $40, doubling the outpatient surgery co-pay to $100, doubling the Urgent Care visit co-pay to $50, eliminating coverage for massage therapy and for removal of impacted wisdom teeth, among other options.

“These are going to be difficult public hearings,” Cheatham said…

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