Nevada Faculty Alliance
 

PEBP board takes 'small but significant' measures

02 May 2012 2:52 PM | Anonymous
Editor's note: Tracy Sherman, chair of the College of Southern Nevada faculty senate, made the following statement on behalf of the Nevada System of Higher Education Council of Faculty Senate Chairs to the Board of Regents on Friday April 20:

On the Public Employees' Benefits Program, some small but significant steps have been taken in the last few weeks. The PEBP Board at its rescheduled meeting on March 29 did allocate – as NSHE and UNLV representatives had sought – all its projected excess reserve to reduce out-of-pocket costs for faculty and staff and their families in 2012-2013, primarily by enhancing HSA/HRA employer contributions for next year. 

While this will bring some monetary benefit to most faculty and staff for next year (though not, unfortunately, those enrolled in the HMO plan), it is heartening as well that the public discussion of PEBP’s excess reserves highlights the point that many faculty and staff believe – and that the NSHE task force continues to study – that competitive health coverage can be made available to NSHE faculty and staff without additional cost to the state.

The PEBP Board also, at the urging particularly of NSHE faculty and staff, approved state subsidies for domestic partners of state public service workers enrolled in PEBP, on the same basis as spouses. 

The PEBP Board, however, chose not to alter the basic plan design, as we had sought, to offer participants a “middle tier” (between HMO and the current high-deductible option) that would offer predictable and clearly comprehensible costs for office visits and prescription drugs. All faculty and staff should continue to advocate for such an alternative for NSHE in the 2013-2015 biennium, either from PEBP or from another insurance pool.

(Sherman was referring to changes approved by the PEBP Board during its March 29 meeting. Pat La Putt, senior manager of benefits and human resource administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, provided the following summary of the meeting.)

The PEBP Board met to discuss rates for plan year 2013 and decide on options for using the expected unrestricted surplus of $29.4 million as of June 30, 2012 (in addition to the projected 13.8-percent rise in the employer/state/Nevada System of Higher Education contribution to PEBP for fiscal year 2013).

NSHE and NFA representatives made public comment regarding the difficulties experienced by employees related to the Consumer Driven Health Plan (CDHP) as well as comments on how to use the unrestricted surplus. These included:
  • Utilizing a majority if not all of the unrestricted surplus to reduce premiums and enhance benefits
  • Support for providing a subsidy to Domestic Partners in the same manner as those provided to spouses
  • Continued concerns regarding the high cost of medical care and prescriptions
  • An appeal for the board to consider adding a middle tier plan with more predictable out-of-pocket costs, but with a reasonable premium, if not for plan year 2013, then for plan year 2014
The PEBP Board approved taking the following actions:
  • Provide a subsidy to domestic partners in the same manner as those provided to spouses (uses $500,000 of unrestricted surplus).
  • Use approximately $6.9 million of the unrestricted surplus to limit rate increases to half of what they would have been based on information provided by PEBP actuaries.
  • In addition to the contribution to HSA/HRA accounts of $700 for primary participants and $200 for each dependent(maximum of 3 dependents) that employees enrolled in the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) will receive on July 1, use $15.7 million to provide the following one-time additional contributions to HSA/HRA accounts to employees and retirees:
    • $400 contribution to HSA/HRA accounts for employees and retirees enrolled in the HDHP effective July 1, 2012. So for plan year 2013, a participant will receive $1,100 ($700 regular contribution + $400 one-time contribution).
    • $100 contribution to HSA/HRA accounts for each dependent (maximum of 3 dependents) of a primary participant enrolled in the HDHP effective July 1, 2012. So for Plan Year 2013, each dependent to a maximum of 3 dependents will receive $300 ($200 regular contribution + $100 one-time contribution)
    • $200 contribution to HSA/HRA accounts for each active employee age 45 or older as of June 30, 2012, enrolled in the HDHP effective July 1, 2012. The board asserted that this group of employees has been impacted more by the change to the HDHP since it tends to need care more than younger employees and the board wanted to provide some additional relief for this group. So for plan year 2013, a participant age 45 or older will receive $1,300 ($700 regular contribution + $400 one-time contribution + $200 one-time contribution). This one-time contribution will use approximately one-tenth of the restricted surplus.
    • $200 contribution to HSA/HRA for each retiree with more than 20 years of service and enrolled in the HDHP effective July 1, 2012.
    • In addition to the $10 per month, per year of service that retirees in the Medicare exchange receive, a one-time $2 per month, per year of service contribution to HRA accounts will be provided to retirees enrolled in the Medicare Exchange effective July 1, 2012.
  • Use the remaining $6.3 million in unrestricted surplus to ease any rate increases in plan year 2014 effective July 1, 2013.
  • Provide all HSA/HRA contributions to employees on July 1, 2012.

The PEBP Board also changed the percentage of the premiums that is subsidized by the employer to the following:

PLAN YEAR 2012
PLAN YEAR 2013
CDHP
HMO
CDHP
HMO
Active Primary
92.8%
77.8%
93.0%
78.0%
Active Dependent
72.8%
57.8%
73.0%
58.0%

Rates for plan year 2013 beginning July 1, 2012 will be:

PLAN YEAR 2012 MONTHLY RATES
PLAN YEAR 2013 MONTHLY RATES
RATES
EMPLOYER SUBSIDY
EMPLOYEE PREMIUM
RATES
EMPLOYER SUBSIDY
EMPLOYEE PREMIUM
EMPLOYEE PREMIUM CHANGE
CDHP
  Employee only
$609.68
$565.78
$43.90
$641.79
$596.86
$44.93
$1.03
  Employee plus Spouse/DP
$1,177.69
$979.29
$198.40
$1,241.92
$1,034.96
$206.96
$8.56
  Employee plus Child(ren)
$785.45
$693.74
$91.71
$832.10
$735.79
$96.31
$4.60
  Employee plus Family
$1,353.55
$1,107.32
$246.23
$1,432.21
$1,173.87
$258.34
$12.11
HMO
  Employee only
$525.10
$408.53
$116.57
$612.48
$477.73
$134.75
$18.18
  Employee plus Spouse/DP
$1,050.20
$712.04
$338.16
$1,224.96
$832.97
$391.99
$53.83
  Employee plus Child(ren)
$782.63
$557.38
$225.25
$878.77
$632.18
$246.59
$21.34
  Employee plus Family
$1,307.73
$860.89
$446.84
$1,491.25
$987.42
$503.83
$56.99
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