March 2021 PEBB Update
Our members have consistently bargained for access to good health care and a pathway to retirement in exchange for modest wages. We’ve been able to maintain outstanding health care as the private sector has struggled with skyrocketing costs. This is the result of our bargaining power as well as PEBB taking action to minimize cost increases in order to stay beneath a state-mandated 3.4% annual increase allowance for the total cost of our health premiums.
Work to keep costs down continues this legislative session and while we are likely to see savings from 2020 when people were not able to access non-emergency care because of the pandemic, there will be a correction when people catch up on those appointments in 2021 and 2022. Even before the pandemic, it was clear that additional, significant actions will be necessary to contain costs and continue to provide the quality of care that SEIU 503 members and our families deserve.
Oregon is working to establish a health system that creates health equity where all people can reach their full health potential and well-being, no matter their race, income, identity, or zip code. Priority populations include Oregonians who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), low-income, LGBTQ+, have a disability, or live in a rural area. PEBB is looking at benefits through a health equity lens to make sure all of our members receive the care they deserve.
The Oregon Legislature continues to work with PEBB and our members to control costs and maintain a high quality of care. As a Union, we consistently support legislative efforts to bring down the costs of prescription drugs, rein in hospital prices, and support payment systems for entire procedures and are moving toward global budgets (paying a fixed amount to a health care provider to incentivize preventive care/overall health rather than fee for service payments that encourage providers to increase the volume of procedures and health care services). There’s also a bill, SB 748, that would require private insurance plans, PEBB, and OEBB (Oregon Educators Benefits Board) to provide coverage to adult (over age 26) children and siblings with disabilities, and make it easier for families to access this coverage.
We have also begun renewal conversations for the 2022 plan year. After hearing from several members, we are looking to expand fertility coverage and add vision therapy coverage. These enhanced benefits and final plan design changes for 2022 are subject to PEBB remaining under the 3.4% annual cap for health premium increases. We are discussing this as a board and appreciate hearing from you around coverage needs.
2022 PEBB rates will be released this summer. We will provide information on the new rates as well as any changes to coverage as well as the outcome of any legislative impacts to PEBB at that time. If you have questions, please reach out to email@example.com.