Premium hikes seen for prescription coverage for state workers

TRENTON – Increases in premiums for state public employees are expected in prescription and health insurance plan, but the dental plan coverage premiums will see a decrease, according to projections made at a state Health Benefits Commission hearing on Wednesday morning.

The rates were approved by the commission

The amount expected to be spent on state medial plans is $3.1 billion, a 7 percent increase.

Overall, the state dental plans are expected to see a 5.6 percent decrease.

Projected costs would be greater if it wasn’t for various benefits, officials said.

Projected for 2012, the state health benefits plan is $139 million higher and local government health care costs are $74 million.

For various HMOs, the cost increases average 8.4 percent.

The prescription drug plans will see an 11.1 percent hike. Early retirees can expect a 3 percent increase for all plans

Medicare rates would remain the same, officials said.

Officials are expecting an average of 1,500 more retirees than in prior years because of the landmark benefits reform legislation passed in June that calls on public workers to make larger contributions toward their plans.

Generic drugs will cost $5.

Active local government employees’s medical insurance will increase 10.6 percent, while the costs for prescription drug coverage will go up 12.5 percent.

Here are the proposed increases for the various insurance plans in the aggregate for 2012.

For current active state employees and retirees, the percent hikes are:

NJ Direct15, Aetna HMO, and Cigna HMO plans: 8.4 percent for employees, 3 percent for retirees

Rx Card Plan: 11.1 percent for workers , unknown for retirees.

Officials are expecting enrollment in plans to decrease by some 3,000 people in 2012. However, they are anticipating the number of early retirees to go up by 1,200 and 1,800 for the number of new Medicare Retirees that will enroll.

For local government employees, the medical rate increases in the aggregate are the following, depending on the type of insurance.

NJ DIRECT10, NJDIRECT15, Aetna HMO, Cigna HMO plans: 10 percent for active employees, 10.5 percent for early retirees and 2 percent for Medicare retirees.

Co-pays will be frozen at this year’s levels for 2012.