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Future of State Health Benefit Plan to be secured | Health

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Future of State Health Benefit Plan to be secured
Health, News
Future of State Health Benefit Plan to be secured

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Department of Community Health has adopted a proposal to secure the future of the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP).

The initiative introduces a new consumer-directed wellness plan, improves plan administration, eliminates the SHBP's projected deficit for this year and substantially reduces future deficits.

"The board is pleased to endorse this thoughtful and responsible plan that is not afraid to tackle the big issues," said DCH board chairman Ross Mason. "This is a forward-looking plan that provides real bottom line-driven solutions."

SHBP is facing a projected deficit of slightly more than $800 million during the next two years.

"Our major concern is the continued delivery of quality health care services at an affordable cost," said DCH commissioner David Cook. "Our recommendations going forward are fiscally responsible and fair, promote wellness and choice, and include administrative efficiencies, transparency and accountability."

The new plan promotes wellness and choice by introducing a voluntary wellness plan, in addition to the standard plan, which encourages employees to participate in initiatives to maintain or improve their health.

Revenue from SHBP members will continue to represent 25 percent of plan costs as the SHBP moves away from the previous employer contribution model. This change will allow for a more accurate method of billing, making the system more transparent and accountable.

"These steps will help secure the future of the SHBP, but it is incumbent on us to address the long-term liability of the plan known as Other Post Employment Benefits, which during the next 30 years is estimated at $15.7 billion," Cook said. "DCH is currently working on options to substantially reduce these long-term future liabilities. A healthy Georgia is paramount."

Georgia's SHBP insures nearly 700,000 people, including active and retired state employees, teachers, and non-certified school personnel, as well as their dependents. It is one of the largest SHBPs in the nation.

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