How We Got Here: PEIA's Shaky Path Forward
PEIA, the state's public employee health insurance system, has been the source of constant debate. The situation is fraught with controversy, with neither side seeing an equitable path forward.
That was until the PEIA Finance Board in December approved a so-called "softened" approach toward proposals aimed at reform for the struggling insurance system, proposing a compromise change in the tiered system for premium changes, changes in family plan, and caps on deductibles.
However, to many across West Virginia, this plan was merely papering over a deeply flawed system.
WV PEIA approves 'softened' changes in 2018-19 benefits plan
By Phil Kabler
After softening some of the more criticized elements of the proposed plan, PEIA Finance Board members approved PEIA’s 2018-19 health insurance benefits package for public employees Thursday afternoon.
“You have a voice with us. We heard you, and tried to make adjustments as best we could,” Administration Secretary John Myers said shortly after the plan was approved.
However, representatives of public employee and teacher unions and retiree organizations stressed that PEIA’s annual ritual of benefit cuts and cost increases is not sustainable in the long-term.
“You can’t continue to fund PEIA on the backs of employees,” West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee told the board. “You can’t continue to take away.”
Christine Campbell, president of American Federation of Teachers/West Virginia, concurred, noting, “What are we going to do long-term to assure that people that aren’t making that much money and chose to stay in West Virginia can have the health care they deserve?”