Utah law requires the Public Employees Health Plan (PEHP) to provide equitable health insurance benefit plan options for all state employees. In November, PEHP Director Chet Loftis announced the current benefit plan design of the state’s STAR plan, or the high deductible health plan, is a 10% richer health insurance benefit than the traditional plan. Currently, 73% of state employees participate in the traditional plan, 26% participate in the STAR plan, and 1 % of employees participates in the Utah Basic Plus plan.
Changes to the STAR plan benefit design, in order to make it actuarially equivalent to the traditional health insurance plan, requires the passage of a joint resolution by the House and Senate. HCR 13 – Concurrent Resolution for Public Employees’ Benefit and Insurance Program, sponsored by Representative Jim Dunnigan (R), equalizes the STAR plan by implementing the following benefit plan changes:
- Increase the deductible
- Increase the out-of-pocket maximums
- Decrease the HSA Contribution
- Establish an employee premium
During the House Retirement and Independent Entities Standing Committee on February 1, Representative Dunnigan explained that, “the employees that have the traditional plan are, in effect, subsidizing those that have the high deductible plan.” The STAR benefit plan has not changed since 2009.
|STAR Benefit||Current Plan Design||Modified Plan Design|
|Out-of-Pocket Maximum||Single: $2,500
|HSA Contribution||Single: $791
|Employee Premium||Single: $0
In addition, HCR13 will return about $3.8 million in unused funds from the dental pool to the general fund. These funds are currently in a risk pool where there is minimal demand for the money. However, the remaining pool will reserve approximately 60 days of premium as a “rainy-day fund.”
Since the inception of the STAR plan in 2006, UPEA continues to support plan options for employees regarding their health insurance, only if the plans are equitable. There have been attempts in the past to force employees into other plans. UPEA will continue to support equalized options for all state employees. HRC13 makes each plan equitable, regardless of the plan the employee chooses.
HRC13 will be sent to the Senate Retirement and Independent Entities Committee in the coming weeks and UPEA will keep you informed on the status of this bill.