The PEIA Task Force is holding public meetings throughout the state to gather input on health insurance plan problems and possible fixes.
More than 150 concerned community member, teachers, and state workers visited Randolph County to attend the PEIA Task Force public hearing at the Phil Gainer Community Center.
The task force is comprised of three components including plan development segment, funding mechanism committee, and outreach committee. The 29-member panel was created following the statewide teacher walkout.
“This new majority that’s running the West Virginia Legislature inherited these problems, and we’re very intent on solving them,” said Senator Mitch Carmichael.
22 meetings throughout the state to gain input from those who feel they can contribute to the possible solution for what they believe is a broken PEIA system.
“With this program, one in nine West Virginians is insured by PEIA. There’s over 230,000 participants in this program. It is incredibly important for us to come to these communities,” continued Senator Carmichael.
Task force officials say a trend is forming during meetings. People are seeking the opportunity to use out of state insures and more flexibility with personal and familial healthcare decisions.
“We’re not only going to pay higher benefits, higher out of pocket, but we are going to cut on what is actually covered and that’s a real concern for everybody,” said DHHR Economic Service Worker Gary Mills.
“If we can’t be together, then the people who want to make us have to pay more, make us lose our benefits, they’re going to have an in.”
Attendants voiced their concerns over low wages, high living costs, and continued increased premiums with fewer healthcare benefits. Many believe this issue is not only statewide but a national healthcare problem.
“I think a lot of this is just a dog and pony show. Hopefully, I’m wrong,” said Mills.