CalPERS OKs 9.5 percent health premium hike, but Medicare recipients are spared
Sacramento Bee June 13, 2012
CalPERS today approved a roughly 9.5 percent increase in health insurance premiums.
The pension fund's governing board voted unanimously to approve the increase, which will cost the average CalPERS member another $30 a month in premiums. The increase takes effect Jan. 1.
It represents one of the biggest increases in years for CalPERS, which covers 1.3 million public workers and retirees and is one of the largest purchasers of the health care in the nation.
Board member Howard Schwartz said CalPERS is fighting to keep health care premiums in check, but is up against powerful forces.
"We like all health care purchasers are wrestling with the problem," he said.
One problem is a persistent under-funding of Medicare and Medi-Cal. That prompts health care providers to shift costs "to large purchasers like us," Schwartz said.
The increase at CalPERS is considered noteworthy because of the pension fund's size and influence. Health care experts said it's a sign that health care inflation continues to work its way through the economy.
The 9.6 percent hike is slightly higher than what many purchasers are experiencing, but may reflect CalPERS' somewhat older than usual member population.
CalPERS "has a population that's a little older and a little sicker than the general population," said Anthony Wright of the advocacy group Health Access California. "It's not young kids."
You can find the CalPERS press release at:
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