The Public Employees Benefits Program
PEBP MEETING June 17, 2016/Notes by RPEN Executive Director Terri Laird
There were two new faces at the June meeting of the Public Employees’ Benefits Program Board of Directors meeting. Tom Verducci and Christene Zack attended their first meeting, as long time board member Jacque Ewing-Taylor attended her last meeting.
Governor Sandoval announced last month several changes on the PEBP Board that included the removal of retiree representative on the board Judy Saiz, who will be replaced by Leah Lamborn. Lamborn will be at her first meeting July 21.
It was a full agenda before the board. Some of the highlights included approval of a PEBP sponsored Statewide Survey to participants about Plan Year 2018 benefits stemming from direction from the Governor’s Office on Finance to build two versions of a PEBP budget; a “flat” budget with no new costs and a 5% “cut” budget reducing the available funding provided by the state by approximately $1.2 million per year. PEBP has also been telling the board that they expect excess reserves that have been being used to offer enhanced benefits to active and retiree participants in the plan or the Medicare Exchange are dwindling every year, and are likely to be gone in entirety by Plan Year 2018.
The survey will ask participants in PEBP three questions essentially: 1) Would you be willing to pay a significant increase in rates to keep the exact same plan benefit design you have today, moving forward; 2) Would you be willing to pay a moderate increase in rates to lose all of the enhanced benefits you have had the last 3 years and return to the original Plan Year 2012 CDHP design; and 3) Would you prefer to pay NO additional rates from today and lose all enhanced benefits you have had the last 3 year AND reduce the Plan Year 2012 benefit design further? New member Zack asked that the premium costs for each proposal be listed but PEBP Executive Officer Damon Haycock said that would difficult to know, but she still pushed for a range of costs. The survey would also pose questions of HMO participants, but Haycock said those replies wouldn’t be brought forth until after they’ve received proposals from vendors in the new HMO Request for Proposal process that will start later this year for the 2018 plan year. He said he didn’t want the survey results to influence anyone’s proposal. He said he hopes to get the survey out to participants by July 1. UNLV is doing their own survey of participants, and Ana Andrews said that data would be very helpful as we head toward a legislative session and budgeting process. The motion to proceed with the survey, including recommendations from the board, was made by Tom Verducci and seconded by Rosalie Garcia.
Another survey was revealed to the board by outgoing Vice-Chair of the Board Ewing-Taylor. It was a survey of the 30 or so employees of PEBP regarding their workplace environment as well as their thoughts on their new Executive Officer Haycock. Overall, the survey was mostly positive, although there were areas where some improvement was needed, and Haycock suggested another survey be done at some point in the future to see if he was able to improve on some of the areas where the survey pointed out issues. One such issue was Haycock’s dealings with the PEBP Board. The survey pointed out some concerns staff had in that area. When Haycock was hired in August 2015, he noted that the “culture” among the PEBP staff was not good. So he said he is keen on improving that “culture”. Several board members thanked Jacque for her work on this survey.
The board also heard a report from PEBP staff about the next RFP process for a new HMO provider, following a less than positive experience that was aborted after several attempts to award a contract to Anthem Blue Cross-Blue Shield earlier this year. Following a lengthy discussion on the issue, board member Jim Wells (also former Executive Officer for PEBP) moved to accept the overview that PEBP, in coordination with Purchasing, will develop ONE RFP to ensure HMO services are provided to PEBP’s participants across the entire state. This can occur either through multiple regional offerings or one statewide proposal and the start date for this contract(s) will be upon Board of Examiners approval (anticipated Jan-Feb 2017) with services beginning July 1, 2017 (Plan Year 2018). PEBP is looking for cost saving measures to reduce rate increases. This overview also calls for an evaluation committee to be appointed by PEBP and Purchasing to include a minimum of 2 PEBP Board Members, a maximum of 3 PEBP staff, and 1 outside expert from another State agency. Additionally, AON, (PEBP’s actuary consultant) will provide financial and disruption analysis. Wells further moved to accept the Scope of Work to require, at a minimum, HMO participants have access to a comprehensive choice of providers within the covered service area as well as outside of NV for emergency and specialized care. Dental benefits would not be included in this RFP but all plans would include, but not be limited to, the following services and plan provisions: customer service, utilization review, concurrent review, disease management, large case management, wellness and preventive services benefits, vision benefits and mandated health benefits. And Wells moved to accept the RFP Evaluation Criteria to be a defined preferred HMO plan benefit design be utilized to ensure and apples-to-apples comparison. Vendors have the right to take exception to any part of the RFP and creative solutions will be accepted. The other evaluation criteria to be disclosed in the RFP included additional weighting/scoring for meeting or exceeding the PEBP preferred Plan Benefit Design as well as statewide vs regional proposals, access to out-of-area HMO Services and best overall value. Verducci seconded Wells’ motion and the vote to pass was unanimous.
Another lengthy discussion centered around offering those retirees currently on the CDHP (Consumer Driven High Deductible Plan) to retain available balances in their Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) accounts when they transition out of PEBP to the Medicare Exchange when they turn 65. The discussion centered around a few unintended consequences of this concept such as creating an inequity between current and future Medicare Retirees; added complexity in administration of the HRA accounts; and the biggest issue was a $1.2 million financial impact in the first year alone for some 600 pre-Medicare participants expected to age into the Exchange in the next plan year. The staff recommended against the proposal, but Ewing-Taylor originally proposed an opposition motion, going against staff and moved that the board proceed with allowing the portability. But in the end, because of the financial impact primarily, she withdrew her motion, and made an alternative motion that staff bring back the exact costs of such a move, as well as requesting RPEN bring forward our thoughts on what existing retirees already in the Exchange would feel about such a change since this was never offered to them. Wells also added another request for information as to how much the CDHP and HMO participants have paid to date for the Medicare retiree subsidies. Wells testified during discussion that the two HRA accounts were created for entirely different purposes, and that the Medicare HRA’s were only designed to assist participants with their premium costs and nothing more.
Regarding the Medicare Exchange Provider, Towers Watson OneExchange, the representative for TW was on the agenda to make a report, however, he never made it to the meeting, and so Board Chairman Leo Drozdoff made the decision to put off their report until their next meeting, and ended the meeting with the usual public comment. RPEN Legislative Advocate Marlene Lockard replied to Wells’ comments about the Medicare retiree costs, asking the board to bring forth data as well about how much the Medicare retirees’ saved the plan when they were transition to the Exchange. She also encouraged PEBP to continue working with TW on getting a full time presence in Nevada, over and above the pilot program of informational meetings that have been ongoing for the last year.
And during her first go around with public comment, Ms. Lockard also mentioned thanks to the board for RPEN’s State President Jack Harris, who was unable to attend the meeting. Harris wanted the thanks given to the board for their assistance on customer service issues RPEN members have been having with Towers Watson. Lockard also expressed RPEN’s gratitude at the end of the meeting for the Ewing-Taylor’s long service to the PEBP Board and all PEBP participants.
As previously mentions, the next PEBP Board meeting will take place July 21. When the agenda and/or board packet is available, we will post it here.
PEBP and Towers Watson's OneExchange continues hosting informational meetings for Pre-Medicare and Medicare retirees in the plan. Carson City will host a Pre-Medicare Meeting July 21 from 9-10:00 a.m. at Western Nevada Community College, Cedar Building/Marlette Hall Room 100. This event will involve active employees as well as Pre-Medicare retirees. Then a Medicare retiree meeting will be held at the same room from 10:00 a.m. to Noon.
Two similar meetings will be held in Las Vegas July 26 with a Pre-Medicare (and actives) meeting from 9-10:00 a.m. at the College of Southern Nevada, Cheyenne Campus, Morse Arberry Jr. Telecommunications Building, Room A-1772. The Medicare retiree meeting will be at the same location from 10:00 a.m. to Noon.
PEBP has been conducting these informational meetings to assist participants with questions/concerns/problems, and the future of these gatherings continuing will depend on how many come out for them.
For additional information about PEBP, please visit their web-site by clicking on the link below.
Public Employees Retirement System of Nevada
THURSDAY, JUNE 16, 2016
The June PERS Board meeting had two components; the Education Session and the regular board meeting.
The Education Session consisted of a budget session including an historical overview of the PERS budget process and its exemption from the regular budget process required of all state agencies. One highlight included discussion regarding new positions including a new Communications Director.
An Information Technology Review was also given with an in-depth analysis of steps taken for a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. Also discussed was the aging current software and the need to migrate to new software.
During the public comment period, Reuben Murillo thanked staff and some members of the Board for meeting with him to answer his questions and clarifying other issues.
It was announced that Governor Sandoval had appointed Clark County Education Association President Vikki Courtney to the Board position previous held by Al Martinez.
The next regular meeting will be July 21 in Las Vegas at the PERS Board Room located at 5820 South Eastern Avenue, Suite 220 starting with an education session at 10:00 a.m..
For more information about Nevada PERS please visit their web-site by clicking on the link below.
Nevada State Legislature 2015-2016 Interim
Interim Retirement and Benefits Committee Meeting
The first meeting of the interim was held February 19 in Carson City with a video conference in Las Vegas at the Grant Sawyer Building.
Nevada State Senator Ben Kieckhefer (SD 16/Carson City-Washoe) chaired the meeting attended by many RPEN members from Reno, Sparks, Carson City and Minden in the North and Las Vegas, Henderson, Summerlin and Boulder City in the South.
PERS Executive Officer Tina Leiss was called to the table first and she outlined legislation passed in 2015 that impacts PERS, including SB 406 that is estimated to save the state $10 billion over ten years once the changes are fully implemented (mostly for new hires). Many of the issues she discussed can be viewed by clicking on the link below.
Damon Haycock, Executive Officer at PEBP spoke next on where PEBP stands on dealing with the non-state participants in PEBP, commonly referred to as "orphans" who are subjected to escalating health care costs because of the size of their group. IRBC Member Assemblyman Randy Kirner (AD 26-Reno) told Haycock the state has been dealing with this subject long enough, calling a "train wreck" and implored him to handle it once and for all. Kirner also addressed the fact brought forth by RPEN's Legislative Advocate Marlene Lockard when she testified the first time under public comment, that Towers Watson/One Exchange, the group that handles the Medicare Retirees, still has not hired a full time person to be in Nevada to handle complaints, issues and concerns by the thousands of participants in the exchange. Haycock said PEBP helped usher in a pilot program last year to bring someone from Towers Watson to visit areas in Nevada (north and south) but Kirner said there should be a full time presence here and Lockard agreed during her 2nd round of public comment. She said Towers Watson should be the one to pay for the cost of opening a full time office in Nevada, and Kirner agreed.
The IRBC normally meets twice per year during the interim so their next meeting will likely be later this year. To view additional materials from PEBP considered during this meeting please click on the link below.
- Senator Ben Kieckhefer, Chair
- Assemblyman Paul Anderson, Vice Chair
- Senator Pete Goicoechea
- Senator Joyce Woodhouse
- Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton
- Assemblyman Randy Kirner
Mark Krmpotic, Fiscal Analyst
Cindy Jones, Fiscal Analyst
Alex Haartz, Principal Deputy Fiscal Analyst
Judy Lyons, Secretary
Brenda J. Erdoes, Legislative Counsel
Eileen G. O'Grady, Chief Deputy Legislative Counsel
Northern Tri-County Chapter Keeps the Public in Their Area Informed During the Legislature and Beyond!!
NTC Chapter President Mike Bumgartner began authoring a regular article in the local newspapers in his area last year has continued with his series this year starting January 2016. To read last year's monthly columns, as well as his latest columns please click on the links below.
Retired Public Employees of Nevada (RPEN)
The next regular meeting of the RPEN Executive Committee will be held in Elko, the site of our 2016 Annual Board of Directors meeting, on June 29-30. The dates for our Annual Board of Directors' meeting in Elko has been set for September 20-23 at the Stockman's Hotel and Casino. Our Elko Chapter is hosting this year's annual event. Additional details on the annual meeting will be sent to all Chapter Presidents following our June Executive Committee Meeting. For more information please contact the State Office at 775-882-7832.
* Legislative meetings can also be seen/heard live over the Internet at: www.leg.state.nv.us Just go to that Web site and click on Listen to Meetings Live on the Internet