Health premiums for Delaware state employees set to increase

State Employee Benefits Committee Upholds Healthcare Promises to Retirees and Enhances Access to Care for Individuals with Disorders

The State Employee Benefits Committee (SEBC) has recently made several important decisions regarding the continuation of enhanced COVID-19 benefits for state employees and retirees. As a result, employees will now have to pay pre-COVID-19 costs for services such as primary care visits, hospital stays, and telemedicine. This decision comes after a lawsuit by retirees who opposed a previous attempt by the committee to move them to a Medicare Advantage Plan through Highmark, which was successfully blocked by the advocacy group RiseDelaware.

In addition to this decision, the SEBC also awarded Highmark Delaware the operation of the Medicare Supplement Plan for retirees for a two-year term starting January 1, 2025, with an optional one-year extension. This decision was met with mixed reactions from state representatives and advocacy groups. Shaun O’Brien, policy director with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, voted against the decision and expressed concerns about the reliability of the SEBC and lack of transparency. State Rep. Paul Baumbach supported the decision virtually and expressed concerns about the lack of confidence in the committee’s actions, emphasizing the importance of keeping promises made to retirees regarding their healthcare benefits. Baumbach is sponsoring legislation to increase transparency and accountability within the committee.

The SEBC also approved changes to ensure equal access to care for individuals with mental health or substance abuse disorders. In addition, wigs and mastectomy bras were approved as enhanced women’s benefits but cooling caps were not. The total cost of these changes to employee health plans was estimated to be between $507,000 and $557,000. These decisions highlight


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