Published: May 22, 2019

This week we got some great news about our healthcare plans. Most importantly, we can announce that there will be no increases in co-pays or deductibles for any of the public employee healthcare plans. That’s big. The Public Employee Benefits Board operates under a legislatively mandated 3.4% cap on costs. Given that healthcare costs go up 7% per year, it’s a constant struggle to keep our costs down. If we don’t, you could end up paying more.

This year we not only stayed under the cap, we even have some extra room to add new benefits. Here’s what you can expect to see added to plans next year (based on the feedback members provided in our PEBB surveys earlier this year).

  • No increases in co-pays or deductibles! 
  • Massage! Adding a massage benefit to the Providence Choice, Kaiser Deductible and Moda plans. Adding an alternative healthcare benefit to the Kaiser part time plan which will include massage.
  • Varicose vein surgery!  Medically necessary varicose vein surgery added back to the Providence statewide, Providence Choice and Moda plans.  Kaiser already included this benefit. This had been a benefit reduction to the Providence plans after the 2008 stock and housing market crash and introduced during the 2011 benefit cuts.
  • Say goodbye to  amalgam fillings: Adding composite fillings to Delta dental (all the other dental plans allow composite fillings; no more gray amalgam fillings if you have Delta).
  • Summer shades: Adding a vision benefit that protects people’s eyes from the sun. Members can use their frame allowance toward non-prescription sunglasses from their VSP provider.  This will encourage members who currently don’t have a prescription to visit their VSP provider and get an annual eye exam.
  • Stress? Anxiety? There’s an app for that: Adding an enhancement to the Employee Assistance Program, possibly as early as July 1, 2019 (pending DOJ approval).  The new program is called Whole Life Directions, which is an app available on your phone or desktop computer that’s focused on stress and anxiety reduction.

In addition, we’re fighting at the bargaining table to keep premium share flat (that’s the percent of premiums you pay each month). We’re optimistic about that proposal.

If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to Shaun Parkman and Siobhan Martin, your reps on the Public Employee Benefits Board, at