Nevada lawmakers may undo what PEBP board voted for in March |

Nevada lawmakers may undo what PEBP board voted for in March

PEBP Director Damon Haycock told board members Monday that Nevada lawmakers have served notice they plan to change the premium rates the board adopted March 28.

The Public Employee Benefits Program voted in March to change the governor’s recommended budget for the program that provides state worker health insurance and benefits. They voted to lower the overall per-employee rate by $10 a month but increase the state’s percentage of the total premium from 93 percent to 95.1 percent.

Haycock said the subcommittee will vote May 1 and a full committee vote May 4 on PEBP’s total appropriation for the coming two-year budget.

That, he told the board, means they will have to basically accept what the money committees do instead of making their own decision. The board typically calculates the premiums but lawmakers approve the appropriation that pays those premiums.

In effect, that means lawmakers are considering undoing what the PEBP board did in March and, might very likely, return to what was in the governor’s recommended budget.

To make it work, Haycock told the board it would have to “approve legislative approval as a technical adjustment.”

Gov. Steve Sisolak recommended a total combined rate of $757.83 a month per worker, about $25 more than the current rate. Haycock said at the March meeting that is more than they thought when the budget was developed.

“Once we went back and refined all of our numbers, we realized we didn’t need as much,” he said at the time.

But changing the governor’s recommended budget normally requires approval by the governor’s Finance Office and the governor himself.

With the end of the legislature in sight and the new PEBP plan year starting July 1, he said they also have to shift open enrollment back from May 1 to May 20 and the close of open enrollment from May 31 to June 7.

“That causes some heartburn as it should,” he said. “But at this point, we don’t feel we have any other option,” he said.

The board approved the changes as presented.