In the two adjacent columns you may select the Monthly Plan Rate or the Biweekly Plan Rate.
Oklahoma’s state agencies will pay much less than expected for state employee benefits in 2010. On August 21, 2009, the benefits office for more than 37,000 state employees and their families, the Oklahoma Employees Benefits Council (EBC), adopted health, dental, and vision insurances rates and awarded contracts for Plan Year 2010 (January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010).
The average increase for the health maintenance organizations (HMOs) was 5.86 percent, significantly less than national projections. In July, Hewitt Associates, a human resources consulting firm, reported that projected HMO premium rates would increase 11.8 percent. HealthChoice, which operates as a PPO and a self-insured indemnity plan, also announced rates today, which showed a 7.57 percent rate increase for the High Option. The result is a combined overall 5.39 percent increase from the 2009 benefit allowance, the funds agencies provide employees to pay for their benefits. On May 15, 2009, the Office of State Finance advised agencies in their budget instructions to plan for a projected 12.88 percent increase in the benefit allowance.
The HMO negotiations included some adjustments to plan designs, as did the HealthChoice plans. The result was more than 58 percent lower than May’s projected estimate, or 30 million fewer dollars statewide. The Employees Benefits Council was able to minimize the increases with tireless, meticulous negotiations, led by Council staff and Gallagher Benefits Consulting Services, and with the cooperation of its HMO partners.
“The Council has a difficult balance to achieve,” Council Chairman Bryce Fair said, “especially with the current economic situation. We’re determined to protect the needs of state employees and their families, while at the same time weighing the financial challenges of state agencies.”
“Our contract negotiations with the HMOs are an exhaustive effort that requires many hours from the Council members and staff,” Executive Director Philip K. Kraft said. “Without this effort, the costs would be significantly higher. We work hard to minimize the impact of rising health care costs on the employees, state agencies and taxpayers.”
EBC offers both standard and alternative plans from each of the participating HMOs. Standard plans typically feature higher premiums with lower co-pays. Alternative plans have lower premiums, but higher co-pays. Overall, standard plan increases will be 3.91 percent while alternative plans will have an overall increase of 8.69 percent.
Contracts were awarded to four HMOs, and were renewed with three dental companies and five vision companies. HMO contracts were awarded to Aetna Health Incorporated, CommunityCare Managed Healthcare Plans of Oklahoma, GlobalHealth Incorporated, and PacifiCare, a United Healthcare Company. Dental contracts were awarded to Assurant, CIGNA Incorporated, and Delta Dental of Oklahoma. Vision plan contracts include Humana, Primary Vision Care Services, United HealthCare Vision, Superior Vision Services, and Vision Service Plan. EBC also offers the state’s self-insured health and dental plans known as HealthChoice.
Active state employees are required to purchase health, dental, basic life, and disability benefits known as core benefits. Employees may also purchase vision benefits, as well as supplemental and dependent life insurance, which are optional plans outside the core benefit package. EBC serves as the Section 125 administrator for the state, which allows employees to choose their benefits on a “pretax” basis. In addition, employees have the choice of saving taxes by participating in health spending accounts, dependent day care accounts and mass transit reimbursement accounts. EBC also offers a unique wellness mentoring program called the OKHealth program and a new, optional benefit to state employees in 2010 – an early medical alert called Invisible Bracelet.