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PEIA director says big cuts may happen every year

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PEIA director says big cuts may happen every year
By Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette-mail

A week after the Public Employees Insurance Agency Finance Board approved about $50 million in benefits cuts for next year for those covered by the health insurance plan, PEIA Executive Director Ted Cheatham told legislators Tuesday that could become the norm.

“We’re going to need $50 [million] to $60 million a year, every year, of new funding,” Cheatham said of avoiding future cuts in benefits.

He said that’s simply a factor of operating a health insurance plan that pays out nearly $1 billion a year in health care claims, while medical and prescription drug costs are increasing at a rate of about 6 percent a year.

For active state employees, premiums need to increase 7 percent in 2017-18 and 9 percent a year afterward to avoid additional cuts to benefits, Cheatham said.

For retirees on Medicare, the increases will be steeper, he said.

Read the entire story at http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news-politics/20161206/peia-director-says-b...