Health premiums for Delaware state employees set to increase

State Employees and Retirees Brace for Changes in Healthcare Benefits as SEBC Makes Decisions on COVID-19 Benefits and Medicare Supplement Plan

The SEBC has decided not to renew the enhanced COVID-19 benefits, which means employees will now have to pay for pre-COVID-19 costs such as primary care visits, hospital stays, and telemedicine. In a related decision, the state employee benefits committee awarded the operation of the Medicare Supplement Plan for retirees to Highmark Delaware for a two-year term starting January 1, 2025, with an optional one-year extension. This decision was made after a lawsuit by retirees who opposed a previous attempt by the committee to move them to a Medicare Advantage Plan through Highmark. The lawsuit was successfully blocked by the advocacy group RiseDelaware.

Shaun O’Brien, policy director with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, voted against the decision due to concerns about the reliability of the SEBC and lack of transparency. State Rep. Paul Baumbach supported the decision virtually but expressed concerns about keeping promises made to retirees regarding their healthcare benefits. He is sponsoring legislation to increase transparency and accountability within the committee.

The SEBC also approved changes to ensure equal access to care for individuals with mental health or substance abuse disorders. The committee approved wigs and mastectomy bras as enhanced women’s benefits but did not approve cooling caps. The total cost of these changes was estimated at between $507,000 and $557,000.

These decisions are crucial for state employees and retirees as they impact their healthcare plans significantly. It is important that these decisions are made carefully and transparently while keeping in mind the needs of those affected by them.

In conclusion, while some changes were approved in recent meetings by SEBC regarding employee health plans, others were not approved due to various reasons such as concerns about reliability and lack of transparency in committees’ actions. These decisions may affect different groups differently; therefore it is essential that they are carefully reviewed before being implemented.

Furthermore, legislators should continue pushing for more transparency and accountability within these committees so that everyone can trust that their voices are heard when it comes to issues related to healthcare benefits. By doing so we can ensure that everyone receives quality care without any unnecessary financial burdens on them.

It’s worth noting that some state employees have already started paying higher premiums than they used to before COVID-19 pandemic struck US in March 2020 while others still wait for vaccination rollout across all states before returning back into their daily routines which might put them at risk again if they don’t get proper protection through insurance coverage provided by employers or government programs like Medicaid & Medicare

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