Board Recommends 2014 Health Insurance Rates
For State and Education Employees and Retirees
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Employees Insurance and Benefits Board (OEIBB) voted Friday, Aug. 16, to recommend to the director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services the plans and premium rates for health, dental, life, disability and vision insurance to be offered to state, education and many local government employees and retirees for 2014.
The recommendations include an overall increase of 3.62 percent for the self-funded HealthChoice PPO plans offered to active employees and pre-Medicare retirees and a 2.22 percent increase in the monthly premium for the HealthChoice Medicare supplement plan. These increases are below initial projections and the national average of similar health care insurance rate hikes, according to the board’s actuary, Aon Hewitt Consulting.
The board also recommended a change to the pharmacy benefit s in order to reduce projected premium increases and to provide a more simplified co-payment design. HealthChoice’s dental and disability plans will remain unchanged while the life insurance plan had a slight increase in a few of the age-rated categories.
The lower-than-projected HealthChoice rates were made possible by the use of approximately $28 million, or 20 percent, of available plan reserves to offset an overall projected cost increase of approximately 7.85 percent after benefit changes and $8.6 million in estimated fees required by the new federal healthcare law.
Liotta said claims by plan members in recent years were lower than anticipated, leading to a buildup of reserves. “As a self-funded plan with a strong reserve policy, we are able to apply a portion of available reserve funds to stabilize premium increases and avoid large spikes in rates from year to year,” he said. “Having the ability to smooth out rate increases over a period of years allows the board, administration and policymakers to plan and implement necessary changes to contain costs in the future."
The Employees Benefit Department of the Human Capital Management Division of the OMES awarded two contracts to CommunityCare HMO which will see an increase of 12.5 percent for 2014, and GlobalHealth HMO, which will see a 7.8 percent increase.
Lucinda Meltabarger, HCM administrator, said: “When negotiating these rates we were sensitive to the fact that the benefit allowance for state employees is staying the same. In today’s economic climate we tried to make sure we got the maximum benefit for the employee’s money.”
Liotta emphasized that “employees should understand that a new federal tax is part of the cost increase we saw presented today. This added cost is a requirement of the Affordable Care Act, and we had to manage the increase in healthcare cost as well as this additional tax.”
Preston L. Doerflinger, director of the OMES and secretary of finance, administration and information technology, approved the rate recommendations.
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About the Office of Management and Enterprise Services
The Office of Management and Enterprise Services provides financial, property, purchasing, human resources and information technology services to all state agencies, and assists the Governor’s Office on budgetary policy matters. Our mission: To lead, support, and serve. For more information, visit OMES.OK.gov.