State Board of Finance discuss Public School Employee Insurance plan

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The State Board of Finance met Tuesday to discuss the plans for the future of the Public School Employee Insurance program.

The situation currently surrounding the program is critical, if nothing were to be done the program is looking at an additional $70M dollar deficit for next year.

The board discussed different variations of rate increases and benefit changes in order to bring revenues for the program up.

Secretary of Education Johnny Key was working on the legislature back in 2013 when the insurance plan program was at a critical level and he said that he sees a lot of similarities from then.

“So what you’re looking at now is what I would consider a repeat and it’s all based on what we’re seeing with the experience and utilization of the plan,” Key said.

Secretary Walther said that the main utilization of the program is on premature births, which are very expensive and can strain the plan as a whole if there are enough cases in a short period.

“We don’t have the ability to close the gap with the options that are available to this board,” Larry Walther, Secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration.

The board said they have asked the Department of Education to ask for a $35M allotment from the reserve fund to help float the program through next year.

The board said they will make a decision on what the rate increases will be for next year when they meet again in two weeks.

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