Las Vegas Sun

January 30, 2015

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Nevada cutting wellness insurance plan for government employees

CARSON CITY — Public employees enrolled in a state wellness insurance plan designed to keep participants healthy are going to be hit with a big increase in premiums in 2015.

Senate and Assembly committees agreed Tuesday to cancel the wellness portion in the state Employees Benefit Program, saving $9.4 million.

There are an estimated 65,000 state and local government employees and retirees enrolled in the insurance program. Those who signed up for the wellness program receive a $50 a month break in their premiums.

Jim Wells, director of the insurance plan, said the change would affect about 11,000 workers who would have to pay $50 more a month in premiums.

Assemblyman Randal Kirner, former chairman of the board for the insurance system, questioned whether the program was working. It was sold to the state with the promise of cutting down on medical claims.

But, so far, there are no statistics to show a reduced number of medical bills.

“Next year, they won’t get the credit,” said Wells, commenting on the decision of the Senate Finance Committee and the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.

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  1. Here is THE COMPLETE list of salary cuts inflicted on state employees. The cuts have been going on for four years now and have increased every year. The following percentages are based on a $50,000 annual salary, for ease of calculation, but some percentage cuts are even higher for lower-salaried employees.

    Despite what you've heard from the Governor's office, the cuts will INCREASE by another 2% for the upcoming two years, unless the Legislature does its job, develops an equitable system of revenue, rejects all cuts, and restores pay and benefits to state employees, who have already paid $20,000 EACH to help balance the budget.

    2.6% pay cut, disguised as greatly increased PPO deductibles (>3X) and HMO premiums (>480%)

    5.72825% pay cut, due to a combination of outright salary cut (2.5%), furlough (2.3075%), pension loss (0.975%)

    2.75% pay cut, due to increases in mandatory increase in pension contributions (State employees pay HALF the cost of their pension; that cost has been increased from 10.5 to 13.25% over the past few years). The state DOES NOT pay into Social Security and State employees DO NOT RECEIVE Social Security.

    1.2% pay cut, due to elimination of health wellness benefit ($50/month = $600/yr = 1.2% of $50,000 salary)

    TOTAL = 12.3325% PAY CUT (or personal income tax on 1% of Nevadans"it's really the same thing, here)