PUBLIC EMPLOYEES’ BENEFITS PROGRAM (PEBP) BOARD MEETING NOTES
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 20, 2019
It wasn’t a typical Public Employees’ Benefits Program (PEBP) Board meeting Thursday November 21 when public comment opened the meeting with representatives of RPEN, Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) and AFSCME stepped to the podium to react to news that PEBP’s Executive Officer had announced his resignation as of January 1, 2020. Haycock, who’s been with PEBP since 2015, replaced Jim Wells, who didn’t have the best relationship with retirees in the program. RPEN’s Executive Director Terri Laird spoke first thanking Haycock for his years of cooperation with RPEN and the other members of the public employee coalition. She said RPEN was very appreciative when Haycock brought back the pre-PEBP Board meetings after Wells saw fit to eliminate them, and that RPEN is hopeful whoever the new Executive Officer is will be willing to keep that open door policy. Dr. Doug Unger from NSHE/UNLV spoke next, continuing to praise Haycock saying he’d rebuilt the culture of PEBP and keep the plan stable for participants. Priscilla Maloney who represents AFSCME Retirees’ piggy backed on remarks made by the UNLV and RPEN representatives.
Damon didn’t make any remarks until his final Executive Officer’s report that came at the end of the meeting when he said it was time for new leadership and eyes at PEBP adding that he was very proud of his own accomplishments at the agency. He said he kept rates flat and even lowered them during his 4 year tenure and that he made it a point to put members first. Several members of the Board also commented. Retiree Representative and former Sparks Chapter President Don Bailey thanked Damon for his service adding that he was on the Board when Damon was hired. Board Vice-Chair Linda Fox (who had to chair the meeting after former Chair Deonne Contine resigned unexpectedly November 7) said she was sorry to see Damon go and that it would be hard to replace someone so motivated and dedicated to their job. Damon said he would be leaving public service for the private sector but didn’t offer any other details. The permanent Board Chair will be Peter Long who was initially named Interim Chair but later confirmed this week as the permanent replacement for Contine. Fox also said there would likely be a couple emergency PEBP Board meetings in December; one to name an Interim Executive Officer and another to begin the search for a replacement.
In other board business, there was a lengthy presentation from Stephanie Messier at PEBP’s Actuary AON that discussed catastrophic reserves, which she said were not to be confused with excess reserves that were brought up in earlier public comment. She said AON had never been asked to project or report on excess reserves. RPEN, as well as AFSCME, NSHE and the Nevada Faculty Alliance, have often questioned the large amount of excess reserves that amass year after year at PEBP, especially since the Medicare Retirees were moved out of PEBP and into the Medicare Exchange in 2010. Excess reserves were also brought up during a discussion regarding proposed plan design changes for Plan Year 2021. Haycock said their reporting of excess reserves throughout the year can change dramatically citing that in January 2019 the reserves stood at $6 million and by March 2019 they were up to $44.6 million but as of November 21 they expected reserves at about $235 thousand. The board eventually approved a few less costly design changes but tabled the more costly proposals. The board also looked farther into the future toward the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 budget and Haycock encouraged them to begin working in the summer of 2020 to come up with a proposal to take to the Interim Finance Committee (IFC) well in advance of the start of the 2021 legislative session. During the 2019 session lawmakers decided PEBP’s budget would need to go before the IFC for consideration. One board member, Leah Lamborn, suggested PEBP should still have an opportunity to prioritize what they would want on their list of benefits. No action was necessary on this item as it was mostly discussion.