01 June 2009

Decision Looms on Retiree Health Care

"West Virginia would join just a handful of other states if its Public Employees Insurance Agency stopped subsidizing retiree health care costs," The Associated Press reports, citing a recent survey of public sector coverage.

The Public Employees Insurance Agency meets Thursday to discuss an end to retiree health care subsidies. The North Carolina-based Center for State and Local Government Excellence found that "five states -- Florida, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi and Wisconsin -- require their retirees to pay their total premiums," the article said.

"Another 15 states cover that premium entirely, including neighboring Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania," AP reports. "The rest offer subsidies."

But AP also refers to a study by the Pew Center on the States to report that West Virginia had the fifth-largest liability, per-capita, from such "other post-employment benefits" as health care.

"Ending retiree subsidies would eventually reverse a projected rise in West Virginia's OPEB liability, which PEIA Director Ted Cheatham estimates will more than double to $18 billion by 2030," the article said.

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