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APS health insurance premiums on the rise again

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Health insurance premiums for Albuquerque Public Schools employees are slated to increase again at the start of the new year.

The APS Board of Education voted last week to approve an average 6% premium increase in 2021 compared with this year.

Todd Torgerson, chief of Human Resources and Legal Support Services, said that’s on top of a similar increase that took effect the current calendar year in APS, which is self-insured.

He said the latest changes to premiums – which includes medical, dental and vision – will go into effect Jan. 1.

Torgerson added that higher costs of paying claims, such as hospitalizations and emergency room visits, is driving the premium increase.

“We have to be able to pay our claims and we have a number of high-cost claimants that came in so that we needed to make some rate adjustments,” he said.

Depending on a person’s medical plan, they could see between a 2.8% and 7.9% uptick in their medical premium, explained Nura Patani, senior consultant and health actuary at the Segal Group.

What that looks like per pay period is also dependent on an individual’s medical plan, salary and who they are covering. But it ranges between an additional $1.38 to $21.31.

According to Patani’s presentation to the board, a person making less than $39,500 who has one of the single-coverage plans offered by the district would see a $1.38 increase per pay period. Meanwhile, a person making $45,000 or more who is on a different family coverage plan with more benefits could see an increase of $21.31 per pay period.

Patani noted to the board that House Bill 1 came into play around these changes, which dictates that a district can’t “pay an increase of more than 6% for group health insurance premium increases that take effect in fiscal year 2021.”

Approximately 16,000 members, which includes employees and their dependents, are insured by APS, according to Patani.

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