Medicare retirees received some welcome news at the latest board meeting for the Public Employees’ Benefits Program (PEBP) when PEBP Executive Officer Damon Haycock announced the agency was looking at having abundant excess reserves yet again and recommended waiving a proposed administrative fee for Health Reimbursement Accounts and paying for their Life Insurance Premiums. In November the proposed $8.00 monthly cost of those two programs was deferred until March thanks to objection from RPEN’s Legislative Advocate Marlene Lockard. Lockard who has long reminded PEBP that the majority of the excess reserves originated when PEBP moved the Medicare retirees out of the program and into a Medicare Exchange. She has always said that move left millions of dollars on the table at PEBP and the proof was in the recurring excess reserves ever since. Haycock has often tried to dispute her assumption but it seems every time he suggests that reserves were going to be gone, they always seem to reappear at budget time.
Under public comment at the start of the January 24 meeting representatives from higher education also asked if the board might also consider using some of the latest reserves to offer lower deductibles and out of pocket maximums for participants in PEBP’s CDHP (Consumer Driven Health Plan) for actives. The board decided it would consider that when rates are set later in the spring for Plan Year 21-22 at their March 28 meeting.
During the actual budget report it was revealed that Governor Sisolak’s state budget didn’t follow a few of the recommendations PEBP had included in their agency budget. PEBP had recommended $2 be added to Medicare retirees’ HRA (Health Reimbursement Account) each of the new plan years (FY 20-21) but the Governor’s recommendation was one dollar per year, taking it from the current $12 per month to $13 per month per year of service. Haycock also announced that CFO Celestina Glover would be retiring February 8 and would be replaced by Financial Analyst Cari Eaton. PEBP’s budget will be considered during a Legislative Budget Committee meeting January 31 at 8:30 a.m., in Room 4100 at the Legislative Building in Carson City and Room 4401 at the Grant Sawyer Building in Las Vegas and again February 13 by a finance committee when the legislative session has begun.
An open evaluation of Haycock’s annual performance was conducted at the end of the meeting. He received positive reviews from the entire board as well as during a final public comment phase from public employee representatives from RPEN and AFSCME. Haycock has served in his position now for three years.