HB 3053 (Steele and David), which would save the state employee benefit allowance has been signed by Governor Fallin. The bill sets the employee benefit allowance at 2012 rates or the Health Choice High Option plan, whichever is greater.
Without HB 3053 state employees would have lost as much as $150 for a single employee or $380 from their monthly paycheck for families. Currently the benefit allowance is set by averaging all the high option plans, including very expensive HMO plans that less than two percent of state employees are using. The Office of State Finance informed OPEA prior to session that they would no longer accept high option bids, which would have caused the benefit allowance to plummet.
OPEA members have been asking if the 75 percent dependent benefit allowance has also been saved, and the answer is yes. The only difference in the dependent allowance is that it will also be set at HealthChoice High or the 2012 allowance. Also, the alternative option HMOs which are chosen by many state employees will also be available in the 2013 plan year. The state will no longer be bidding the standard option plans, which few employees choose.
Although the HMO bids are not open until August, HealthChoice has told OPEA that the claims experience for 2012 has been good. Therefore, the HealthChoice plan should have no significant increase in premiums.
Additional information will be posted within the next week. Watch the website for further details.