Delaware’s State Employee Benefits Committee’s Decision: Balancing Cost-Saving Measures with Healthcare Benefits and Accountability

Health premiums for Delaware state employees set to increase

The State Employee Benefits Committee (SEBC) recently made a decision that will affect the healthcare benefits of employees and retirees in Delaware. The committee has decided not to vote on continuing enhanced COVID-19 benefits, which means that employees will now have to pay pre-COVID-19 costs for services like primary care visits, hospital stays, and telemedicine. In a related decision, the state employee benefits committee awarded the operation of the Medicare Supplement Plan for retirees to Highmark Delaware for a two-year term starting January 1, 2025, with an optional one-year extension.

Shaun O’Brien, policy director with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, voted against the decision citing concerns about the reliability of the SEBC and lack of transparency. On the other hand, State Rep. Paul Baumbach supported the decision virtually and expressed concerns about the lack of confidence in the committee’s actions. Baumbach emphasized that it is essential to keep promises made to retirees regarding their healthcare benefits. He is sponsoring legislation to increase transparency and accountability within the committee.

In addition to these decisions, the SEBC also approved changes to ensure equal access to care for individuals with mental health or substance abuse disorders. The committee also approved wigs and mastectomy bras as enhanced women’s benefits but did not approve cooling caps. The total cost of these changes was estimated to be between $507,000 and $557,000 further illustrating how important these decisions are for state employees and retirees.

Overall, this decision by SEBC highlights how critical it is for employees and retirees in Delaware to stay informed about changes in their healthcare plans and advocate for their rights when necessary.

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