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Insurance rates for many Oklahoma state employees set to increase

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OKLAHOMA CITY – It has been a rough year for many state employees across Oklahoma, and officials say some employees may feel an extra pinch when it comes to their paychecks.

On Thursday, the Office of Management and Enterprise Services announced the new rates for health insurance plans that will be offered to state employees in 2017.

Officials say the rates for HealthChoice plans for current employees and pre-Medicare retirees will increase about seven to eight percent.

Also, there was a 16 percent increase to premiums in HealthChoice Medicare supplement plans.

“This board and the staff that works on providing HealthChoice plans, take these decisions very, very seriously,” said OEIBB Chairman Jimmy Williams. “It’s never easy to raise rates, we realize how it can impact people’s lives, but HealthChoice plans are still much lower than the industry averages.”

Rates also increased for the HealthChoice High Deductible Health Plans by 6.46 percent and for the HealthChoice Dental plan by 6.73 percent.

For primary current employee members, Aetna will increase 11 percent over last year; CommunityCare will increase 6.8 percent; and GlobalHealth will increase 6 percent.

“We worked very hard to provide the best options for coverage at the lowest possible rates,” said OMES Human Capital Management Administrator Lucinda Meltabarger. “This year has been a challenging one for state budgets and the national insurance market.”

Fortunately, HealthChoice Life and HealthChoice Disability plan premiums remained the same, while HealthChoice Focus rates for pre-Medicare former employees actually decreased.

Despite the increases, state leaders say they are still below the national average for rate increases.