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'Obamacare' helps to lower CWC staff health premiums

Oct 23, 2012 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Central Wyoming College employees will see a 4.5 percent decrease in monthly health insurance rates in 2013 partly because of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Jennifer Ray, CWC's executive director for human resources, said officials monitoring the Wyoming Employee Group Insurance plan made efforts this year to reduce the EGI's funding reserve by $11 million. The change was made to balance the portfolio after an unexpectedly good financial year and to comply with the ACA, Ray said.

"Penalties must be paid if you have excess reserves that aren't returned to plan participants," Ray said during a CWC Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday.

"They've done this in the past, last year, but instead of a year-long rate decrease they did a one- or two-month rate holiday."

CWC will realize a comparable decrease in its employer contribution rate, Ray said, adding that the college pays for 85 percent of employees' health care costs with help from the state.

"So our contribution goes down as well as the employee's out-of-pocket expense," she said. "We're excited about that."

Down $34 a month

Single CWC employees will see monthly premiums fall by $34.41. For single staff members with a $350 deductible, that means rates will go down from $737.18 to $702.77. The employer contribution for the same group will decrease by $33.72, from $669.85 to $636.13.

Employees with families will see monthly premiums fall by $79.66. With a $350 deductible, that means the family rate will go down from $1,706.54 to $1,626.88. The employer contribution for families will decrease by $78.06, from $1,520 to $1,441.94.

Ray said there will be a .3 percent increase in dental premiums, but that change should not offset the larger decrease in other premiums. Preventive dental plan rates also will go up by 8.6 percent, while life insurance and vision rates will remain the same.

Wellness program

Ray said the state has modified its wellness program, changing its title from Healthier WY to Wyoming on Wellness. Through the Healthier WY program, employees could earn $480 premium discounts for 2013, but Ray said those discounts will not be part of the plan in the future.

She said employees who already were eligible for the deduction still will get it.

Ray said new entrants to WOW will have different cash incentives. For example, they can earn $50 back for completing an annual physical or a health assessment, and $25 will go for participants who undergo a blood draw.

Ray said open enrollment for CWC employees to elect benefits for 2013 began Oct. 1 and will end Nov. 30. New benefit elections will be effective Jan. 1, 2013.

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