PEIA Task Force looks to use 3 committees to better understand program’s shortcomings
By WV MetroNews Staff
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Members of the PEIA Task Force are hoping to use the weeks leading up to its April meeting to learn more about the state’s health insurance program and ways to make improvements to plans.
The 29-member body announced last week it has been split into three committees focused on public outreach, coverage and plan, and cost and revenue. According to a press release, the action was done to help with the group’s work on addressing matters such as increasing out-of-pocket costs.
“Everybody needs to have a broad-based understanding and then we can move forward in having the breakout discussions,” said Joe Letnaunchyn, president and CEO of the West Virginia Hospitals Association.
Letnaunchyn said on a recent appearance on MetroNews “Talkline” the task force’s members — including lawmakers, government officials, labor representatives and members of the insurance industry — cannot adequately solve issues with the program if they first do not understand its shortcomings.
“People have to leave their specific agendas back at their office when they come in and realize we are all coming in here for the good of the whole to try to find a fix for PEIA to protect the state employees and retires, but also to protect the taxpayers that are funding the tab in effect through the state budget,” he said.
Letnaunchyn is a convener on the cost and revenue committee. He said he believes PEIA’s problems are due to a combination of the population’s health and the number of claims being made, adding a solution will not be simple.
“I want to know things like what is your provider network, what are you paying out-of-state providers versus in-state providers do we have an adequate network of physicians and subspecialists and the like,” he said.
“If we do a redesign of the program, then we want to make sure it’s not tilted one way or another where people say, ‘You know what, this isn’t worth being a provider for PEIA. I’m just not going to participate,'” he added.
The task force will next meet April 10 at the state Culture Center to discuss the basics of the insurance program and its financial status.