Despite constantly rising costs of health insurance and increasing use of medical care, state employees will not pay more for insurance premiums in the coming fiscal year.
For the third consecutive year, increases in health insurance will be assumed by the state, announced Rick Thompson, administrator of Insurance and Internal Support for the Idaho Department of Administration. Thompson and Cynthia Ness, manager of the employee benefit program, provided details of the state’s health insurance program Thursday in two sessions at ITD Headquarters.
A series of meetings began Monday in Boise and will be continue in most of Idaho’s major cities through May 11.
Thompson said Blue Cross of Idaho – the state’s insurance provider – projects nearly $168 million in medical claims during the coming fiscal year but only $151.7 million in revenue from state and employee contributions.
The $16.2 million difference will be covered by a surplus in the state account. That’s the good news, Thompson said. But there may be a cloud on the horizon. The gap between claims and revenue is expected to reach $34.2 million by FY09, which likely would require higher premiums for state employees and adjustments to co-pay and deductibles.
Although health insurance premiums will not increase in FY08, employees will notice some important changes, Thompson explained.
The state’s provider of long-term care insurance, Aetna Insurance Co., announced its intent late last year to discontinue participation, but through negotiations with the Division of Insurance, agreed to a three-year transition period. Idaho will re-bid the contract, implemented in 2006, for FY09.
Open enrollment for employees who want to change their medical options, add dependents to dental or vision coverage, or enroll/re-enroll in the flexible spending account is scheduled for May 14-30.
Thompson said state employees should receive a newsletter outlining the FY08 insurance program at their home address early next month. A copy of his PowerPoint presentation is available as a pdf (portable document format) download on the state employee portal: http://employee.idaho.gov/ Look for presentation slides under “Schedule of Statewide Meetings for Active Employees Group Health Insurance and Open Enrollment.”