Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Health Insurance Program Needs $25 Million Infusion

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Health Insurance Program Needs $25 Million Infusion

Article excerpt

Oklahoma's health insurance program for state employees and teachers needs an infusion to its reserves of $25 million to $30 million in the next few months, consultants told a legislative task force on Monday.

The Wyatt Co., a Texas consulting firm hired by the Oklahoma Joint Committee on Fiscal Operations, made its report to the interim task force that is studying the health insurance system.

The company looked at the medical, dental, life insurance and long-term disability benefits offered to state and education employees and retirees.

The report said the medical reserve fund stood at $84 million on Oct. 31. The number of covered employees is expected to increase by 12,000 by July 1, and the fund is projected to total about $44.9 million by June 30, the report said.

The purpose of reserves is to set aside enough money to pay for claims that have been incurred but not yet paid. The report said the industry standard is three months' worth of claims, and Wyatt recommended that reserves be held that are equal to a minimum of four months of medical claims, plus three months of dental claims.

The company recommended a comprehensive medical plan where patients share part of the cost. Where an outside health care provider was used, the patient would pay 30 percent and the state would pay 70 percent of the cost.

If the patient used a preferred provider designated by the state, the patient's share would drop to 10 percent.

The plan proposed by Wyatt would increase the state's monthly premium for an employee to $150.78 from the current $92, and the entire cost would be borne by the state.

Premiums paid by employees with dependents would more than double.

Employees with one dependent would pay $136.14 instead of the current $62.10 premium. The monthly premium for employees with two or more dependents would jump to $272.28 from the current $124.20.

The state would not pay any of the dependent coverage, and it does not do so under the current plan. …

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