Despite the fact a reported 10,000 state workers have completed their part of the employee wellness program, they won’t be getting the $50 a month benefit promised by the Public Employee Benefits Program.
That’s because the Legislative Interim Finance Committee last week refused to release the money to make those payments with several members arguing the requirements were burdensome, participation wasn’t large enough and there wasn’t enough evidence the program was accomplishing its goals.
Without the money, the Public Employee Benefits Program board called an emergency meeting Thursday and voted to dissolve the program.
Assemblywomen Maggie Carlton, D-Clark, and Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-Clark, led the protests against continuing the program that promised a monthly premium for those participants.
What that decision means is the roughly 10,000 state employees, about 30 percent of the state’s workforce, who have worked to complete their requirements in the wellness program are not going to get the incentive payment they have been expecting.
In trade for participating, including taking health assessment exams, exercising, modifying their behavior and participating in programs designed to improve wellness, state workers were to receive the added contributions to their Health Savings Accounts or, in the case of those not in the HMO plan, on their bi-monthly paychecks.
Interim PEBP Director Katteri Carraher said after IFC last Thursday refused to release the money to pay the administrative fees, the board was forced to call an emergency meeting because, without the money, they couldn’t continue the program.
The work program rejected by the Interim Finance committee was $980,000. The total cost of the wellness program is about $2.7 million a year.
The payments were supposed to start with employee paychecks in July.