COVID-19 Benefits Reduced for State Employees: Amid Opposition, State Benefits Committee Voted Against Continuing Enhanced Healthcare Benefits

By Eleanor Harrison Mar27,2024
Health premiums for Delaware state employees set to increase

The recent decision by the SEBC to not vote on continuing enhanced COVID-19 benefits has left many employees feeling frustrated and concerned. Starting from January 1, 2025, state employees will have to pay for pre-COVID-19 costs for primary care visits, hospital stays, and telemedicine. This decision was met with opposition from many employees who believe that their healthcare benefits should not be reduced during a pandemic.

In related news, the state employee benefits committee has 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. This decision comes after a lawsuit by retirees who opposed a previous attempt by the committee to move them to a Medicare Advantage Plan through Highmark, which was successfully blocked by the advocacy group RiseDelaware.

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. State Rep. Paul Baumbach supported the decision virtually and expressed concerns about the lack of confidence in the committee’s actions, emphasizing the importance of keeping promises made to retirees regarding their healthcare benefits. Baumbach is sponsoring legislation to increase transparency and accountability within the committee.

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’ healthcare plans.

Overall, these decisions highlight how crucial it is for government agencies to be transparent in their actions and keep their promises when it comes to healthcare benefits. It is essential that state employees feel confident that their healthcare needs will be met during this challenging time.

By Eleanor Harrison

As a content writer at newseasoning.com, I infuse flavor into words, crafting compelling stories that captivate and inform our audience. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for creativity, I strive to create content that not only engages but also inspires. Whether I'm concocting a savory blog post or whipping up a spicy product description, I pour my heart and soul into every piece I write. Join me on this flavorful journey as we explore the tantalizing world of content creation together.

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