State Treasurer Beth Pearce Announces Health Care Plan Savings for Retired Teachers

20 July 2017

MONTPELIER, Vt.— Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce today announced the successful negotiation of a contract to provide health insurance plans to retired members of the Vermont State Teachers’ Retirement System (VSTRS). This will save the State of Vermont over $550,000 in FY 2018 and provide total savings to retired teachers, over age 65, of $110,000 for grand total savings of $660,000.

“As State Treasurer, I always look for solutions that are a win-win for the taxpayer and for the retirees we serve,” said Treasurer Pearce. “The new plan will provide a 2% premium decrease for Medicare-eligible members and maintain fiscal year 2017 rates for non-Medicare-eligible members, achieving significant savings for the State of Vermont and for the Teachers’ Retirement System. This agreement maintains price stability at a time when health care costs have soared nationally.”

The State Treasurer’s Office successfully negotiated the plan after completing a Request for Proposal (RFP) process for vendors to provide health insurance plans for retired members of VSTRS.  The contract was awarded to the Vermont Education Health Initiative (VEHI). VEHI will offer sponsored Blue Cross Blue Shield health plans to retired teachers.

Mark Hage, a VEHI Trust Manager, said, “VEHI is proud to count VSTRS as a long-time member of its risk pool.  The Trust helps the retirement system provide high-quality benefits at a more affordable price for teacher retirees and their dependents by leveraging its size (more than 42,000 covered lives), providing access to cutting-edge wellness programs to help retirees lead healthy, productive lives, and by implementing initiatives like BlueMedicare Rx to save on pharmacy costs.”

The Vermont State Teachers’ Retirement System Board of Trustees unanimously approved the plan at its May 3, 2017 meeting. The State completed negotiations in June. Under the agreement, health insurance premium rates for Medicare-eligible plan members will decrease by 2%, while non-Medicare-eligible subscribers will remain the same as in the previous state fiscal year, accruing savings to both the State and to members of the State Teachers’ Retirement System.

“This agreement generates savings for retirees and savings for the State,” said Jon Harris, Chair of the Board of Trustees for VSTRS. “The Board appreciates the collaborative nature of the agreement and the balance it achieves.”

The contract term runs from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.

“The State Treasurer’s Office will continue to explore every available option as it works to stabilize health care costs and provide the best value for Vermonters,” stated Treasurer Pearce.

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