Georgia Health News: Health plan to keep same benefit costs for teachers, state employees.

Georgia Health News: Health plan to keep same benefit costs for teachers, state employees.

By Andy Miller
Georgia Health News

Georgia teachers and state employees got good news Thursday about their health care benefits.

Monthly premiums, deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance will be the same in 2020 as they are this year, state officials announced.

It’s the second straight time that these health benefit costs will remain the same from one year to the next for non-Medicare members.

The State Health Benefit Plan, with a budget of more than $3 billion, covers about 660,000 state employees, teachers, other school personnel, retirees and dependents.

The benefit offerings – from HMO through high-deductible health plan – will also stay the same. UnitedHealthcare, Anthem and Kaiser Permanente will provide the insurance choices for members.

“We’re happy to offer what I think is a good selection of plan options at an affordable price,’’ said Jeff Rickman, executive director of the State Health Benefit Plan.

For the lowest-cost Medicare Advantage plan, the premium will go up from zero to $20 per month. The higher-cost Advantage plan will have the same monthly premium, at $128.22.

The recent stability in the state’s health plan is in sharp contrast to the uproar five years ago, when there were widespread complaints from teachers and others and even some organized protests. In response, the state did a fast fix for that year’s benefits and more revisions on the 2015 plan.

State agencies will pay lower contributions to the plan to cover their employees next year, while school systems will pay the same per member per month contribution, Rickman said.

SHBP will retain the current Pharmacy Benefit Manager, CVS Caremark, and the current wellness vendor, Sharecare, for the 2020 plan year.

Open Enrollment will begin Oct. 21 and end Nov. 8 for plan members.

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