• Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

State Employee Health Benefits Committee Makes Contentious Decisions on Continuing COVID-19 Benefits and Medicare Supplement Plan

BySamantha Johnson

Mar 27, 2024
Health premiums for Delaware state employees set to increase

The State Employee Benefits Committee (SEBC) has made a decision not to vote on continuing enhanced COVID-19 benefits, meaning that employees will now have to pay for pre-COVID-19 costs for services such as primary care visits, hospital stays, and telemedicine. In a related decision, the 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 move comes after a lawsuit by retirees who opposed a previous attempt by the committee to move them to a Medicare Advantage Plan through Highmark, which 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 and expressed concerns about the reliability of the SEBC and lack of transparency. Similarly, state Rep. Paul Baumbach supported the decision virtually but expressed concerns about the lack of confidence in the committee’s actions while emphasizing the importance of keeping promises made to retirees regarding their healthcare benefits. Baumbach is sponsoring legislation to increase transparency and accountability within the committee.

Additionally, the SEBC approved changes to ensure equal access to care for individuals with mental health or substance abuse disorders. The committee also approved wigs and mastectomy bras as enhanced women’s benefits but did not approve cooling caps. The total cost of these changes to employee health plans was estimated to be between $507,000 and $557,000. These decisions highlight how important they are for state employees and retirees.

In conclusion, these decisions made by SEBC have significant implications for both state employees and retirees’ health plans. While some may see it as a step back from previous enhancements due to cost considerations or concerns about reliability and transparency; others view it as necessary adjustments that must be made in order to maintain fairness in healthcare coverage.

By Samantha Johnson

As a dedicated content writer at newsanguinely.com, I weave words into compelling stories that captivate and inform our readers. With a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for detail, I craft engaging articles that shed light on the latest news and trends. When I'm not typing away at my keyboard, you can find me exploring new ideas, researching diverse topics, and striving to deliver content that resonates with our audience. Join me on this journey as we uncover the stories that matter most.

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