House Bill 66, Public Employees Insurance Plan Amendments, was passed out of the Political Subdivisions Standing Committee with a favorable recommendation on January 19, 2022. The bill, sponsored by Representative Dunigan, would require the Public Employee Health Plan (PEHP) to discontinue the preferred network for the state risk pool. Employees currently on the network will have until July 1 to elect one of the remaining networks or they will be placed in the network that best reflects their utilization pattern after that date.
Chet Loftus, Managing Director of PEHP, explained the purpose of the bill to the UPEA Advisory Committee on January 8, 2022. The preferred network was initially created to offer in-network access to any hospital or provider in the state. Over time, PEHP plans have been enhanced to provide members with more flexibility – therefore, it is no longer necessary for members to pay the increased costs for the preferred network. PEHP Director Loftis assured UPEA members that removing the network would not eliminate options for state employees. Employees can switch networks once a year, at any time, if they need access to a hospital that is not covered on their current network.
This bill does not carry a fiscal note, alternatively, it is expected to save money for the state and employees currently on the network.
Todd Losser, Executive Director of UPEA, spoke in favor of the bill. The bill passed through committee unanimously and was read for the first time on the Senate Floor on January 21, 2022.