End of Enhanced COVID-19 Benefits: State Employee Benefits Committee Makes Changes to Healthcare Services

Health premiums for Delaware state employees set to increase

Recently, the SEBC made the decision not to continue enhanced COVID-19 benefits for employees. This means that employees will now have to pay for pre-COVID-19 costs for services such as primary care visits, hospital stays, and telemedicine. In a related decision, the state employee benefits committee awarded Highmark Delaware with the operation of the Medicare Supplement Plan for retirees for a two-year term starting January 1, 2025, with an optional one-year extension. The committee’s decision follows a lawsuit by retirees who opposed Highmark’s previous attempt to move them to a Medicare Advantage Plan through Highmark, which was successfully blocked by advocacy group RiseDelaware.

Shaun O’Brien, policy director with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), 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 keeping promises made to retirees regarding their healthcare benefits. Baumbach is sponsoring legislation to increase transparency and accountability within the committee.

In addition to these decisions, the SEBC approved changes aimed at ensuring 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 to employee health plans was estimated between $507,000 and $557,000. These decisions are critical for state employees and retirees as they impact their access to healthcare services.

Overall, it is essential that decisions made by government bodies like SEBC are transparent and accountable to ensure that they meet the needs of citizens fairly without compromising their wellbeing or financial stability.

Recently, the SEBC made the decision not to continue enhanced COVID-19 benefits for employees. This means that employees will now have to pay for pre-COVID-19 costs for services such as primary care visits, hospital stays, and telemedicine. In a related decision, the state employee benefits committee awarded Highmark Delaware with the operation of the Medicare…

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