Keeping PEIA Enrollees Healthy

Members of a task force formed to recommend legislative action on West Virginia’s Public Employees Insurance Agency are wrapping up their work. They expect to have a report ready by Oct. 15.

Almost undoubtedly, the report will recommend that lawmakers provide a stream of revenue — taxpayer subsidies — so that public employees do not have to cope with rising health insurance premiums and limits on coverage.

But from the taxpayers’ standpoint, there may be a small ray of hope in the recommendations.

Task force members held public meetings throughout the state to get opinions on the PEIA. Those attending were overwhelmingly public employees.

But many agreed “wellness programs” should be used by the PEIA to keep enrollees healthier — and thus, to hold the program’s costs down. Of 1,083 people responding to task force questionnaires, just 185 said they would not participate in “healthy lifestyle” programs.

In fact, according to a report on the meetings, many agreed PEIA enrollees who refuse to participate in wellness initiatives should pay higher insurance premiums.

Good. The healthier PEIA participants are, the less their insurance will cost. Legislators should make wellness part of their PEIA package.

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