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Taxpayers expect good management

The good news for state employees and other government employees covered by the Public Employees Insurance Agency is that they will not see their premiums go up on July 1.

The good news for all taxpayers is that they will not bear all the rise in the cost of this program. The agency's finance board will consider a plan that increases co-payments, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses for those covered by the plan.

The vote is scheduled for Dec. 6 after public hearings in six counties.

"Actually, we're offering price reductions in three of our four [health insurance] plans," said Ted Cheatham, PEIA's executive director. "We are going to give people an incentive to switch to a lower benefit plan."

Lower benefit plans cost taxpayers less.

The agency must increase revenue or cut expenses by $13 million to $15 million in the next budget year. The annual appropriation by taxpayers will not increase.

In an economy with little if any growth, taxpayers cannot give more. They appreciate that agency officials have acknowledged that and will look elsewhere to balance the books.


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