Today, during the Annual Rate Renewal meeting of the State Health Benefits Commission (SHBC), the trustees voted to approve a nearly 23% local government health insurance rate increase and a 21% increase in state employee health insurance rates. The three executive branch representatives voted in favor of the rate increase, while the two labor representatives split, one voting against and the other voting to abstain. This contentious meeting, which was rescheduled from July, occurred without full consideration of cost-sharing measures offered by members of the Plan Design Committee earlier in the day.
The Plan Design Committee also approved resolutions that increased the co-pay for urgent care visits by $30, and increased the co-pay for specialist visits by $15, excluding OB-GYN services. The SHBC accepted those recommendations and incorporated them into the final vote.
While no two states are similar, it appears that no other state is seeing such a drastic, double-digit year-over-year increase in their state and local government health plans. While these costs are outside the municipal cap, revenue will still have to be identified to cover the increased costs that will be paid for by municipalities, local government employees, and property taxpayers.
You may want to reach out to your healthcare provider and request an analysis for your municipality to judge whether remaining in the State Health Benefits Plan is in the best interest of your municipality and employees. These reports can take up to 60 days to receive from your provider.
In the coming days, the League will be hosting a webinar for municipalities to evaluate what alternatives and cost saving measures exist for municipalities including joining a Health Insurance Fund or moving to another provider makes financial sense while providing substantially similar care. We will post the date and time on the League’s website and social media once it has been scheduled.
- Lori Buckelew, Deputy Executive Director & Director of Government Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481, x112.
- Paul Penna, Senior Legislative Analyst, email@example.com, 609-695-3481, x110.