COMP NEWS – West Virginia state workers and public school teachers are going to receive a series of employee premium hikes. After this year, there will be more hikes over the coming years.

State and public school employees who get health insurance through West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency will enjoy one more year of coverage with no premium increases. 

However, the plan presented Thursday to the PEIA Finance Board calls for a series of yearly employee premium hikes beginning July 1, 2023. The plan calls for a 9% premium hike for the 2023-24 benefits year, followed by 16% and 12% hikes the following two years. 

Many employees have urged members of the Finance Board to provide funding plans to prevent these premium hikes. A large number of the employees claimed that they would be unable to afford these premium hikes.

The pending premium hikes also will cost taxpayers, with employer premiums projected to increase $201.5 million over the three-year period. 

The PEIA has also come up with plans to help offset some of the premium hikes. The PEIA will use some of their rainy day fund as well as some of their investment earnings, which were much higher than expected.

As of October 2020, the five-year plan had projected that a 8.4% premium increase would be needed for the coming plan year, but investment earnings brought in $40.6 million for the 2020-21 budget year, almost double what PEIA expected to earn. 

The 2022-23 plan also will use $31 million of a $105 million PEIA Rainy Day Fund. That will be the first time PEIA has tapped into the fund, set up in 2019 to help offset increasing medical and pharmaceutical costs.

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