By WV MetroNews
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Public Employees Insurance Agency Finance Board held Wednesday the first public hearing on its plan proposals set to begin July 2019.
PEIA director Ted Cheatham led the first hearing, a teleconference in which policyholders were able to participate.
“First off, let me thank everyone for their patience,” Cheatham began. “As you know, the Task Force has been working on PEIA, and the governor has been giving us and the Task Force guidance. We have been doing our best to model, price and look at those options.”
The PEIA Task Force met Monday but has not wrapped up its work relating to shoring up insurance plans. Members did agree to accept Gov. Jim Justice’s plan to stabilize PEIA using $100 million and broaden the proposal meant to even out costs for individuals seeking medical care outside of West Virginia.
Among the new items mentioned by Cheatham is a new third-party administrator, UnitedHealthcare’s UMR. The vendor, the largest third-party administrator in the United States, will be responsible for handling claims and customer service.
“What you can expect of them is more tools to use, good customer service and a great partner,” Cheatham said. He added new identification cards will be issued in July as a result of the change.
UMR will also manage out-of-state contracts.
Cheatham also expressed excitement regarding changes to the life insurance program; participants will be allowed to increase their optional life insurance by one plan up to the new plan with a maximum of $100,000.
“We will let you do that without any medical underwriting,” he said. “If you’re down and you want to go more than one step, you can do that. You’re just subject, as normal, to medical underwriting.”
Cheatham also said there is also a two-year guarantee with Humana that will mean no changes in plans for Medicare retirees for the 2019 and 2020 calendar years.
The next hearing is Thursday at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center and is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m