PEIA Task Force begins daunting work of reforming WV health plan
By Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette-Mail
With 21 statewide public hearings completed, the PEIA Task Force on Wednesday got down to the daunting task of coming up with plans for comprehensive reform of the health insurance plan that covers more than 200,000 West Virginians, in what its members admit might be an impossibly short timeline.
“I know we have a clock ticking, but I don’t think we’re talking about a Band-Aid here,” Joe Letnaunchyn, president of the West Virginia Hospital Association and chairman of the Cost and Revenue subcommittee, said Wednesday. “We could say, ‘Change some deductibles, change some eligibility,’ and we can go home. I don’t think that’s our charge.”
The 29-member board is facing a number of deadlines to come up with a way to end the annual cycle of premium increases and/or benefit cuts in the Public Employees Insurance Agency — including the directive in the executive order creating the task force to have a final report completed by December.
On Wednesday, Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, said he believes the task force is mandated to come up with permanent solutions for PEIA and said it needs to take whatever time is necessary to come up with a real solution.