W.V. Public Insurer OKs $5B Retiree Cost Cut

CHARLESTON, W.V. (AP) - The health care provider for West Virginia public employees is cutting some major costs.

The finance board for the Public Employees Insurance Agency approved a new plan Tuesday.

Changes from the current plan include several new or increased co-payments. The new plan also hikes retiree premiums 9 percent. It ends coverage for acupuncture treatments. It also sets standards for massage therapists but keeps that coverage.

The board also voted to cut $5 billion from a looming funding shortfall from retiree health expenses.

It's capping the $343 premiums subsidy for retirees. That individual subsidy will grow by 3 percent a year to help with medical inflation.

The funding shortfall involves post-employment benefits, or OPEB. Officials say the freeze will erase an estimated $10 billion OPEB unfunded liability by half.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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