City of Charleston employees set for PEIA switch on Wednesday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Employees with the City of Charleston and Kanawha County are set for the switch to Public Employees Insurance Agency plans.

With the first day of the 2020-2021 fiscal year on Wednesday for many municipalities, the city is set to have around 600 employees move away from the self-insured plans to the state-run Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA).

Jonathan Storage, the Charleston City Manager previously told WCHS-AM if a switch did not happen, the city would have faced a budget deficit by as much as $16.5 million by 2024.

“There is a significant saving providing the same amount of coverage for the same number of employees that is saving a tremendous amount,” Storage said.

“Even with subsidizing 100 percent of the deductible for Plan C and an 80/20 premium split where the City of Charleston is paying 80 percent of the premium.”

Per the city’s website, active employees will have access to all seven plans offered by PEIA. However, the City will only subsidize PPB Plan A and PPB Plan C. Plan A is a PPO plan, similar to what was offered by the City.

Plan C is a High-Deductible Health Plan, paired with a Health Savings Account.

Employees are guaranteed to have the same doctors as doctors are required to take PEIA, Storage said.

Support for the plans has not been hard to come by, he added. The plan to offer PEIA was passed through unanimously by the Charleston City Council earlier this year.

The city put on six informative seminars on a potential switch before the COVID-19 pandemic. The city has also mailed out notices, made videos and changed its website to better inform employees of the switch.

“This has been multiple months,” Storage said. “This is not something where you flip a switch and everyone is on a new plan. It requires applications, it requires supporting documentation and it requires a lot of education.”

Premiums would not change for three years and Storage said the city can readjust then if need be.

Kanawha County will join the City of Charleston and hundreds of municipalities around the state on PEIA. Storage said the city and its employees are excited about Wednesday.

“Any issues with getting documents in to make sure you have birth certificates for your children or marriage licenses for your purposes, those things might need to be cleaned up for people who have been waiting a little bit but other than that we are expecting to go full tilt on Wednesday,” he said.