Insurance Program Crisis?

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Mississippi lawmakers are looking at tough choices to keep the state employees' insurance program afloat. The state insurance plan administrator, Therese Hanna, said Tuesday that the program needs either a 23 percent increase in premium payments, which are now covered by the state or a 23 percent cut in benefits.

Hanna said that gives lawmakers a few options:

** Make workers pay some out-of-pocket expenses for their own premiums.

** Eliminate prescription drug coverage and increase deductibles.

** Require a combination of higher premiums and fewer benefits.

** Change state laws to give workers the option to buy different levels of coverage.

Hanna said if officials do nothing, the self-funded state employees' insurance plan will run out of money by November.

Gov. Haley Barbour has said the state could save $54 million a year by requiring state workers to either pay for some of their own premiums or get different levels of coverage.

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