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The State Employee Benefits Committee (SEBC) recently made several decisions regarding benefits and vendor contracts. One key decision was the decline to continue enhanced COVID-19 benefits, meaning employees will now pay pre-COVID-19 costs for services like primary care visits, hospital stays, and telemedicine. Additionally, the SEBC awarded Highmark Delaware with the operation of the Medicare Supplement Plan for retirees for a two-year term starting on January 1, 2025, with the option of a one-year extension. This decision comes after a lawsuit two years ago by retirees against the SEBC’s plan to move retirees to a Medicare Advantage Plan through Highmark, a move that was successfully blocked by the advocacy group RiseDelaware.

The policy director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees voted against these decisions expressed concerns over the lack of transparency and reliability of the committee. State Representative Paul Baumbach also voiced similar concerns stating that retirees felt deceived by previous decisions and that the committee needed to be held accountable. Baumbach mentioned that he is sponsoring legislation aimed at increasing transparency and accountability of SEBC.

The SEBC also approved changes to address disparities in access to care for mental health, substance abuse, and medical treatment. Additionally, they approved enhanced benefits like wigs and mastectomy bras for women but did not approve cooling caps. The total cost of these changes to employee health plans was estimated to be between $507,000 and $557,000. These decisions made by the SEBC will have a significant impact on state employee benefits and healthcare services moving forward.

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