• Sat. May 25th, 2024

New Changes in State Employee Benefits: Enhanced COVID-19 Benefits No Longer Available and Expanded Access to Care

BySamantha Nguyen

Mar 27, 2024
Delaware state workers will experience an increase in health insurance premiums

The State Employee Benefits Committee (SEBC) has recently made several decisions regarding employee benefits and vendor contracts. One of the key decisions was the decline to continue enhanced COVID-19 benefits, meaning that employees will now pay pre-COVID-19 costs for services such as primary care visits, hospital stays, and telemedicine. Additionally, the SEBC 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.

This decision comes after a lawsuit two years ago by retirees against the SEBC’s plan to move retirees to a Medicare Advantage Plan through Highmark, which was successfully blocked by the advocacy group RiseDelaware.

Policy director Shaun O’Brien of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees voted against these decisions made by the SEBC, expressing concerns over their lack of transparency and reliability. State Representative Paul Baumbach also voiced similar concerns, stating that retirees felt deceived by previous decisions and that accountability is necessary from the committee. Baumbach mentioned that he is sponsoring legislation aimed at increasing transparency and accountability at the SEBC.

The SEBC also approved changes to address disparities in access to care for mental health, substance abuse, and medical treatment. In addition, they approved 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. These decisions made by the SEBC will have a significant impact on state employee benefits and healthcare services moving forward.

Overall, it is clear that there are still many issues with transparency and accountability when it comes to state employee benefits committees like this one. However, it is encouraging to see that some progress has been made in addressing disparities in access to care for certain groups within this population.

It remains important for state leaders to continue working towards creating more equitable healthcare systems for all Americans regardless of their employment status or socioeconomic background. With ongoing challenges related to COVID-19 pandemic as well as other health crises we need robust policies in place that benefit everyone equally while keeping costs down without compromising quality of care received by patients.

It would also be beneficial if more states follow suit with RiseDelaware’s example and take legal action against any attempt made by their own state employee benefit committees or other organizations trying to limit access or undermine patient rights in healthcare services provided under Medicare program.

In conclusion, while there are still many issues left unresolved regarding transparency and accountability at state employee benefit committees like this one

By Samantha Nguyen

As a content writer at newsqwe.com, I am passionate about crafting engaging and informative articles that captivate our audience. With a background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I strive to deliver content that is not only well-researched but also adds value to our readers' lives. From breaking news stories to in-depth features, I take pride in my ability to tell compelling stories that resonate with our diverse audience. When I'm not typing away at my keyboard, you can find me exploring new cafes, practicing yoga, or getting lost in a good book. I am thrilled to be a part of the newsqwe.com team and look forward to sharing my love for writing with all of our readers.

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