Public Employees Benefits Program may see lower premiums |

Public Employees Benefits Program may see lower premiums

The Public Employees Benefits Program voted Thursday to reduce premium rates in the governor’s recommended budget for the system that provides state worker health benefits.

Gov. Steve Sisolak recommended a total combined per worker rate of $757.83 a month, about $25 more than the current rate.

Executive Officer Damon Haycock told the board the plan won’t need as much money in 2020 as 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.

Haycock said the plan was able to sign contracts with providers that are lower than projected and plan usage numbers that came in lower than expected.

As a result, he said, they were able to “flatten” the employee premium rates on the Consumer Driven Health Plan that covers most state workers and actually reduce the HMO and EPO plan premiums.

Also, he said PEBP will need about $2.3 million less in state money in 2020.

“Everybody wins,” he said.

With that in mind, the Board on Thursday voted to reduce that combined per employee premium by $10 to $747.75. The board also voted to increase the employer contribution percentage from 93 in the governor’s recommended budget, to 95.1 percent.

The decision will be popular with state workers because what members pay in plan year 2020 will remain pretty much flat.

Thursday’s vote changes the governor’s recommended budget for PEBP, a move that requires approval from the governor’s office.

Haycock said since PEBP’s budget is developed in November, it almost always requires amendment after more refined data comes in.

“The Gov-Rec budget is predicated on information that changes from the time PEBP submits the budget,” he said.

He said the Gov-Rec budget doesn’t include any of the contract savings the board reached with providers or the lower-than-expected claims experience reported by actuaries in February.

PEBP provides health benefits for more than 26,000 active employees and, when retirees and non-state members are added in, a total of 43,500 people.