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Members of the Public Employees Insurance Agency Finance Board won’t start work on the 2022-23 benefits plan until September, but board members learned Thursday the state-managed health insurance program is in relatively good financial health.

Through April 30, with two months remaining in the 2020-21 budget, PEIA total revenue of $695.24 million is nearly $15 million above estimates — largely because investment earnings came in more than $16 million higher than projected.

PEIA Chief Financial Officer Jason Haught said the Retiree Trust Fund did even better, with investment earnings coming in $225 million over estimates.

“It almost looks like a typo,” he said.

Through April, PEIA medical claims expenses of $367.95 million are about $3.6 million less than anticipated, but Haught said that is changing with a spike in elective medical procedures from March through May.

He said that includes unprecedented weekly medical claims payments in excess of $12 million as insurees underwent medical procedures put off during the height of the pandemic.

“We’re crossing our fingers that we’ve seen the spike of pent-up utilization,” he said.

Prescription drug claims are coming in near projected levels, once a pending rebate from PEIA’s prescription benefits manager comes in.

“Hopefully, we’ve weathered COVID, an anomaly of what’s happened to the healthcare industry,” Haught said.

PEIA Finance Board members will next meet in September to review and tentatively approve a proposed 2022-23 benefits plan, and then will conduct six public hearings across the state in November. Final approval of the new plan is expected in December.

Reach Phil Kabler at philk@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1220 or follow @PhilKabler on Twitter.

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