Delaware state workers will experience an increase in health insurance premiums

State Employee Benefits Committee’s New Decisions Raise Concerns over Healthcare Services and Disparities

In recent developments, the State Employee Benefits Committee (SEBC) has made several decisions regarding benefits and vendor contracts. One of the key decisions was the decline to continue enhanced COVID-19 benefits, meaning employees will now pay pre-COVID-19 costs for services such as primary care visits, hospital stays, and telemedicine. The committee also awarded Highmark Delaware with the operation of the Medicare Supplement Plan for retirees for a two-year term starting on January 1, 2025, with the option of a one-year extension.

The decision to end enhanced COVID-19 benefits has raised concerns among some state employees and advocacy groups. Policy director Shaun O’Brien of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees voted against this decision, expressing concerns over the lack of transparency and reliability of the committee. Similarly, State Representative Paul Baumbach also voiced similar concerns, stating that retirees felt deceived by previous decisions and that the committee needed to be held accountable. Baumbach mentioned that he is sponsoring legislation aimed at increasing the transparency and accountability of the SEBC.

In addition to this decision, the SEBC also approved changes to address disparities in access to care for mental health, substance abuse, and medical treatment. These changes include enhanced benefits like wigs and mastectomy bras for women but did not approve cooling caps. The total cost of these changes to employee health plans was estimated to be between $507,000 and $557,000. The decisions made by the SEBC will have a significant impact on state employee benefits and the cost of healthcare services moving forward.

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