Employee Health Insurance Plans for 2005 Unveiled
FRANKFORT, Ky. – In keeping with Governor Ernie Fletcher’s steadfast commitment to making Kentucky a healthier state, Employee Health Insurance Plans for 2005 will focus on the goal of moving members from an illness model to a wellness model, Personnel Cabinet Secretary Bob Ramsey announced today. Additionally, Governor Fletcher announced that state employees and teachers will receive an additional one percent pay increase. The increase is a supplement to the two percent increase in the Governor’s Continuation Plan.
Plans for 2005 will include wellness initiatives and incentives for employees to make healthy lifestyle choices. Wellness initiatives are included in the 2005 plans, and for the first time, non-smokers will receive a discount on their contribution toward their insurance. Health risk assessments will be available to all employees and retirees at no charge to the member. Health education programs will be incorporated into the public employee health insurance program.
“Moving from an illness model to a wellness model will empower employees to choose a healthier lifestyle, and by doing so, begin to take control of their own health care costs,” Sec. Ramsey said.
Other changes employees will see this year include (for details on these changes, visit the Department for Employee Insurance Web site at http://personnel.ky.gov/dei.htm):
· Three PPO plans will be offered to the all members – Commonwealth Essential, Commonwealth Preferred, and Commonwealth Premium. Under these plans, members will pay co-insurance – not co-payments – for services. The amount of co-insurance varies between plans. PPOs also offer members out-of-network benefits.
· Each region will have one choice of a health insurance carrier. This allows carriers to have 100 percent of the members electing coverage in that region, thus enabling them to offer more competitive rates.
· Salary bands. For 2005, state and education employees’ contribution to their insurance will be based on their salary. Contributions by other groups will be decided by their employer.
· Contribution equalization. Participants across the state that are similarly situated (same salary band, choosing the same level and option of coverage) will pay the same amount for their insurance.
Over the past five years, our state’s employee health insurance plans have not changed with the national trend. While employees will see an increase for 2005, that increase will not, in many cases, exceed the employee’s salary increase.
“My administration inherited a disastrous state employee health insurance situation that had been festering for years with little control,” stated Governor Ernie Fletcher. “We were once again handed the responsibility to clean up the mess. The changes we have made in the 2005 plans, including equalizing state employee contributions, rewarding employees for making healthy choices, and imposing salary bands creates a more fair and balanced health care approach.”
The Personnel Cabinet has also explored possibilities for a more competitive workforce, including compensation and methods to offset the increasing cost of employee health insurance. Beginning Dec. 31, pay grades 3 and 4 will no longer be used. Pay grade 5 will be used by interim employees only. Regular employees currently at grade 5 will be moved to grade 6. This means that some employees and all new hires affected by this change will take home at least $1,384 more per year. Adjusting the pay scale will also make entry-level salaries in state government more competitive with surrounding states and provide more income to assist employees in offsetting higher insurance costs.
“While there is no question that health care costs are on the rise, we are doing everything we can to provide quality health insurance coverage to employees at a cost everyone can afford,” Secretary Ramsey said. “We sincerely believe the model for 2005 will be one that will help us manage the cost of health insurance incurred by the employee and the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth’s Public Employee Health Insurance Program currently has about 170,000 participants, including state employees, school boards, health departments, quasi-governmental agencies, legislative retirement, KTRS, KRS, KCTCS and judicial retirement. Open enrollment is scheduled for Sept. 27 through Oct. 15 for active employees, and Sept. 27 through Oct. 29 for retirees.
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