A recent article about health insurance for state employees explained how they pay their fair share. This is contrary to Sandoval’s narrative that state employees are takers.
PEBP executive director, Jim Wells said he had to look over the figures in the report before he could comment. I am certain he is scratching his head, trying to figure out a way to make state employees look bad despite the facts. He has been attacking bothe active and retired state employees by saying the health insurance program was in the red when it wasn’t. His response to the faux budget crisis a few years ago was to raise premiums and deductibles resulting in too much money in the reserve accounts. A clear indicatoion of incompetence on his part.
Here are some highlights in the report:
Nevada state employees pay a much larger share of their health insurance premiums than public employees in other states.
The overall cost for the Nevada’s health program has decreased by 10 percent from 2011 through 2013 while national costs went up 2 percent.
Nevada pays just 26 percent of the health insurance premium. Some states pay all the premium.
Employees with individual coverage pay 19 percent of their premium compared to 13 percent nationally. For those with dependents, state employees pay 28 of their premium cost compared with 20 percent nationally.
I have talked to many state employees. None like paying premiums, but then who does? Also, no one believes they should get a free ride, and they expect to pay a reasonable amount for their health care.
I am not asking for a premium reduction. I am asking for honesty and openness. It seems the Sandoval administration finds this hard to do.
During the 2015 legislative session, the Sandoval administration was going to propose a process to dump all state employees into the government’s health care exchange system. Shifting health care to the exchanges would eliminate the state’s direct costs. For example, Nevada’s Public Employee Benefits Program and its bureaucracy would be eliminated.
Current state employees have health insurance but this new patient dumping plan was to give state employees their health subsidy amount and let them find insurance for themselves. Further, they planned to reduce the current health insurance subsidy thereby shifting more heath care costs to state employees (active and retired).
The IRS regulates the affordable health care act has decided this will not be allowed. This decision has luckily blocked any move by Sandoval to dump state employees into exchanges. The Affordable Health Care Act is suppose to build on existing employer based health coverage and dumping may not part of the plan.
Take THAT governor!
All this reminds me of Sandoval’s dumping of mentally ill patients. Now it is all state employees. When will Sandoval’s mediocre management by dumping stop?
On April 3, 2014, the Nevada Public Employee Benefits Program board decided to restore benefits lost during The Great Recession by depleting it $54 million excess reserves. Some changes for the 2016-2017 biennium are:
Annual dental coverage will be $1,500 instead of $1,000.
Co-insurance coverage will be 80 percent after deductibles are paid.
Northern Nevada HMO participants will pay $300 for outpatient surgery and the in-patient hospitalization co-payment dropped to $500 from $1,000.
Southern Nevada HMO participants will see some increases. For example, a specialist visit will be $25 instead of $15 and an ER visit will be $150 instead of $75. Northern Nevada participants pay more.
Active member life insurance will be $25,000 instead of $10,000. For retired members their life insurance will be $12,500.
The issue here is not just about what people will pay in the future but why the excess reserves are so high year after year. Excess reserves come directly from the pockets of participants and show the incompetence of NV PEBP management. I have said repeatedly … Executive Director Wells must be fired; he should not be allowed to resign for any reason. Wells has consistently shown his antipathy toward state employees by making them unnecessarily pay more for their health benefits. This is bad management.
This governor’s man must go… now!
Brian Sandoval filed for his second term as governor on March 7, 2014. He said that if re-elected he would serve out his full second term. We shall see about that.
It IS guaranteed he will win re-election, unless of course he sets it up so he looses. This would let him challenge Reid in 2016, if Reid runs for re-election and let him keep his promise that he would serve a full second term if re-elected. Now THAT is crazy speculation!
He said Nevada is in recovery mode but there nothing that shows Sandoval deserves the credit. Our recovery would have happened even if the governor’s office was vacant. Economic recoveries have momentum and Nevada would be swept along toward recovery no matter what.
Finally, he said he still has a lot of work to do in education. This is certainly true… Nevada still ranks at the bottom regarding education. Unfortunately, whatever he has done the past four years hasn’t changed this. It is bothersome he brings it up as a “must do” item now. I wonder why education was not on the his “to do” list four years ago?
Sandoval proves a vacant governor’s office is a good idea and would save money too. He has has had little effect on Nevada other than reducing state employee benefits and laying off hundreds of them so he can brag about it to his conservative friends.
Let’s lay him off but let’s not brag. It would be unseemly to do so.
This week, the Las Vegas Review Journal (“newspaper”) recently published an article that discussed PERS retirement payments. In that fluff piece, they mentioned the Nevada Policy Research Institute’s (NPRI) “Transparent Nevada” website. That website now has a searchable database of retired Nevada public employees based on January 2014 PERS pay register data.
To calculate an annual retirement amount, the January monthly amount was multiplied by twelve. Though most of the annual amounts should be reasonably accurate, there will be some wildly inaccurate pay information. So, to write something credible about PERS is impossible at this time. Please read a very good an article by Anjeanette Damon called, “Publishing incomplete Nevada PERS data is irresponsible“, Reno Gazette Journal, February 13, 2014.
The new database is simply a voyeuristic act by NPRI with help from the “newspaper”. The new database serves no valid investigative journalistic purpose and unfortunately encourages public ridicule and disdain toward retirees.
The NPRI and the “newspaper” are irresponsible.
Their hatred of public employees is very clear and has been the cornerstone of their reporting about public employees for decades. This parochial mentality blinds them to the truth.
When they write about public employees, they lash out like children on a playground. It is too bad they can not be spanked for this reprehensible behavior.
FYI: The NPRI is a conservative political “think” tank with IRS charity status.
The Reno Gazette Journal’s Executive Editor, Kelly Scott published an interesting column today about why the paper requested information from PERS. It is an interesting read and worth a few minutes of your time. Here is the link: http://www.rgj.com/article/20140202/NEWS/302020029/Kelly-Scott-Why-we-ve-asked-PERS-data
This is part of what she wrote in that column:
“That data was requested as one part of our examination into the future of our state’s Public Employees’ Retirement System.
We are examining the system for signs of corruption, inefficiencies and unethical or illegal behavior. We hope to independently review the entire system to ensure that it is not being abused. We also want to examine the benefit packages of elected public officials.
We have no intention of printing the names of all 47,000 people in the system and their associated benefits unless that specific information is directly relevant to stories we pursue.”
Reno Gazette Journal, February 2, 2014, “Kelly Scott: Why we’ve asked for the PERS data“
I am confident that NV PERS complies with Nevada’s laws regarding public employee retirement. I believe state retirees, after decades of public service for low pay, deserve every penny they receive. I am looking forward to reading future RGJ studies regarding PERS.
P.S. Let’s hope the Las Vegas “newspaper” will stop its voyeurism of state retirees and public employees in general.
Kelly Scott’s contact information: (775) 327-6785, firstname.lastname@example.org
After a court order, the Nevada PERS released some information about retirement pay of its retirees. In response, the LV Review Journal, no friend of any public employee, published an article on January 30th describing how much some notable retired public employees make. The article was simple and simply written to titillate, misinform and engender bad feelings towards all public retirees. Calling out some individuals for possible public rebuke serves no public good.
The article is also an incredibly amateurish response.
Publishing lists and cherry picking data is a simple and easy way to attack public employees. It is not newsworthy. The new PERS list is no different from the many Nevada public employee pay lists found on various sites. Lists don’t mean anything and right now Nevadans are left with little other than that.
Newspapers claim they serve the public and it seems they think creating a list is all they need to do. It’s not.The question is, “What’s the purpose of the list or any public list?” Yes, it informs the public, but what can be gleaned from the data? This is what journalism is supposed to be. It’s about digging deep, looking for questions needing answers.
Nevada’s news agencies must stop with simplistic and sensational stories like the one published in the “newspaper” mentioned previously.That’s so junior high school.