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West Virginia PEIA may raise rates next year, director says 

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West Virginia PEIA may raise rates next year, director says 

Sep 12, 2023 | 4:49 pm ET
By Lori Kersey
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West Virginia PEIA may raise rates next year, director says 
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PEIA director Brian Cunningham addresses state lawmakers Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, about the implementation of Senate Bill 268, which raised premiums for members by about 25 percent and imposed a surcharge for some spouses of policyholders. Cunningham said the agency may increase rates again next year. (Will Price | West Virginia Legislative Photography)

West Virginia’s Public Employees Insurance Agency may raise rates for members again next year, director Brian Cunningham told state lawmakers Tuesday.

“According to our strategic plan there are premium increases forecast for fiscal year 2025,” Cunningham said. “We’re going to do everything we can to prevent those premium increases and it would be premature for me to say what that number may be until we get through the finance board meetings.”

Cunningham made the comments during a legislative interim meeting of the Joint Standing Committee on Insurance and PEIA. He spoke about the implementation of Senate Bill 268, which passed during the regular legislative session earlier this year. 

The legislation, meant to shore up the agency financially, imposed a monthly surcharge of about $150 for spouses of policyholders who choose PEIA coverage despite having access to employer-sponsored coverage through their employer.

It also increased health premiums back to an 80/20 employer/employee premium split — an increase of about 25 percent — and increased reimbursement to providers to a minimum of 110% of Medicare’s reimbursement.

Gov. Jim Justice appointed Cunningham director in July. Previous director Ted Cheatam retired in late 2021. 

Cunningham said the agency assumed that 13,700 spouses had alternate coverage available, but the actual number was 11,700. They also assumed that 4,800 spouses would leave the plan, but 3,100 actually did. PEIA estimated that 8,900 spouses would opt for the surcharge, but 8,600 did. 

Cunningham said the agency would evaluate the amount of the surcharge in the future and analyze the long term financial impact.