State health plan sees some changes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

State health plan sees some changes

September 20, 2007

Albany - More than a half million Georgians enrolled in the State Health Benefit plan could be hit with ten percent premium hikes. But there may be good news as well.

A retired educator for more than 30 years, Sandi Johnson continues to surround herself with students working part-time at Darton College. But these days, she's the one studying.

Trying to familiarize herself with upcoming changes to her health insurance plan, including premium increases. "We're really not surprised the cost is going up because we haven't had an increase since United Healthcare took over," said Johnson.

But that doesn't mean she likes it. "We expected it, but that doesn't make it fun."

So what kind of increase can you expect to pay? Robert Lloyd, business director for Dougherty County Schools said, "As of the 1st of January, employees contributions are going up 10% for both current and retired employees."

While that may sound drastic, the monthly difference isn't significant. If you're on the PPO plan as an individual, your monthly premium will go from $71.40 to $78.26. For the family plan, it will go from $217.16 to $238.88.

And while the increase may sound nominal, for many, it will still be a big to their bank accounts. "People are already struggling with price increases elsewhere," said Lloyd. "They'll struggle to meet these costs."

  • The biggest change of course, is the increase in premiums.
  • However, there will actually be a decrease in premiums if you enroll in a Health Reimbursement Account Option.
  • Also, Dependents must be verified or they won't be covered.

The changes won't be effective until January 1st, but state workers and retirees like Johnson will have to make decisions soon, and she says the best way to know what to chose, is to know about the choices. "I haven't formed an opinion," she said.  "I'm going to wait to go to some of the meetings."

So she'll be able to meet the changes head on. Meetings will be held throughout the state to educate retirees and active employees about the changes. To find out where those meetings will be click here.

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