Senators concurred in changes to the PEIA and employee pay raise bills during Monday’s midday floor session.
Senate Bill 268, the broad-ranging bill affecting insurance for public employees completed action in the body on a 26-6 vote with two absent.
The legislation will return the cost-sharing ratio between government and employees to the agency’s previous 80-20 split. In recent years, money from the general revenue fund had been allocated to prevent premium increases. Those allocations morphed the program into a split that was closer to 83-17.
The final version of the bill will also eliminate an opt-in for spouses, instituting a buy-in option estimated at $147 a month.
Supporters of the bill believe these financial moves are necessary to keep the insurance plan solvent. Opponents contend that potential premium hikes as much as 26 percent are too much for public employees to bear.
Supporters of the bill also believe a $2,300 across-the-board pay raise combined with the already completed 21.25 percent tax cut will offset the premium increase with most employees having money left over. Senate Bill 423, the pay raise bill, completed action today on a unanimous vote after the House had made only minor, technical changes.
The Senate accepted several changes to PEIA bill today, including returning the final bill to an 80-20 cost split for those that receive medical care from out-of-state providers. The original bill would have made that a 70-30 split but delegates made a compelling case that many West Virginia communities have their main medical providers nearby in border states.
Another accepted change allows long-time, former state employees who are not yet old enough to qualify for the retiree program to opt in. The original bill would have eliminated them from the program.
Finally, the Senate accepted a House change to cap insulin costs for those covered by PEIA to $35 for a 30-day supply.
Both the pay raise and PEIA bills now head to the Governor’s desk to await his signature.
The Senate reconvened at 5:00pm Monday to concur in the House amendments and complete four bills, and to receive additional committee reports and read select bills a first time.
Completed Bills from Monday evening:
SB490 – Patrol Officer Cassie Marie Johnson Memorial Act
SB526 – Including Alzheimer’s disease in existing public health programs
SB679 – Requiring Office of Inspector General to promulgate rules concerning location of forensic group homes
HB3141 – Relating to the practice of dentistry
The Senate is adjourned until tomorrow, March 7, at 11 a.m.
Morning Meetings for Tuesday, March 7
Government Organization at 9 a.m. in 208W
Education at 9 a.m. in 451M