Nevada public employees to see lower health care costs starting July 1 | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada public employees to see lower health care costs starting July 1

State workers will pay less for health insurance starting July 1.

The Public Employee Benefits Program board last week approved rate reductions that will lower the monthly premium workers in the Consumer Driven Health Plan the majority have chosen by $10.18 to $31.73.

That's a reduction of $122 over the course of the year.

PEBP Executive Officer Damon Haycock said not just single employees but every category of worker including those covering their entire family will see lower premiums as will retirees in the plan.

He said the biggest reductions, however, will be for those workers who have chosen the HMO plan. There, the monthly premium paid by an employee will drop $31.20 to $142.43.

"This will reduce costs to all 70,000 people in our program," he told the board.

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Haycock said the best news is the reduction isn't designed to burn up excess reserves, which means those rates would have to bounce back up once the reserves were gone. He said it's because the plan costs were lower than anticipated and, "the inflation we built into our plan we never realized."

Unless something changes and plan costs rise, he said, the premiums shouldn't rebound next year.

Because inflation was lower than expected, he said Health Plan of Nevada was able to offer an 8 percent rate reduction in the south and to keep rates up north flat.

"Last year we were able to restore benefits and keep rates flat," Haycock said. "This year we were able to keep the benefits and lower rates."

He said that includes the consumer driven plan, the HMO plan and the Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) plan which is the "in-house version" of the HMO offered through Hometown Health. He said it also includes a one-time supplemental contribution to Medicare Retirees.

Those Medicare retirees will get an extra $2 a month per year of service to offset their health plan costs. For the average 15 year retiree, he said, that works out to $360.

For members in the Consumer Driven plan, the rates for employee and spouse, employee and children and the family premiums will each drop between $10 and $15 a month for HMO/EPO members, decreases will range from $31.20 for the employee alone to $65.07 a month for the family plan.

The state budget for the coming plan year, which starts July 1, is $740.92 per month per employee. Over the course of the biennium, the total budget for PEBP is just under $1 billion.