Deductibles and co-pays will remain unchanged next year for members of the plan, as will the providers offering coverage.
The good news for teachers, state employees and retirees comes as private employers are expecting costs to rise in 2022. An annual report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers in June projected a 6.5% increase in employer medical costs in 2022.
Louis Amis, executive director of the State Health Benefit Plan, told the board the COVID-19 pandemic slowed usage of medical services covered by the plan in the first half of 2020. The same thing happened with Medicaid, the state’s health care program for the poor and disabled. People put off seeing doctors, getting elective treatment and surgeries or seeing the dentist last year after the pandemic began. That reduced medical costs for the program.
Amis said there has been an uptick in expenditures for people going to the doctor and receiving other treatment, but it’s unclear whether that will slow now that the delta variant has COVID-19 cases on the rise.
“No one knows what impact the delta variant is going to have on the plan,” he said.
The State Health Benefit Plan is funded by a combination of “employer” payments — tax money put in by the state and school districts — and the “employee” premiums paid by the plan’s members.