Category: Appropriations Committee
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
The 2015 Legislative Session for the SDSEO has been one of both calm and furor. While we were not faced with a barrage of negative original bills, and for the first time in what feels like forever our healthcare wasn't going to cost us even more, we caught more than our fair share in proposed amendments to the general bill, HB 1208. The amendments are here. Numbers 2, 3, and 4 are bitter pills.
Yes, combined, they add up to $15.055 million. But they don't go together like that, as the second and fourth each have components that are the same: a 50% reduction in movement toward market value.
And while the "savings" for the general fund is a slim $2.2 million for the second and under $2 million each for the third and fourth, that leaves the remainder of federal and other funds forever being lost to the employees and the state's economy. That lost sum is $3.57 million for the second of the amendments, $2.879 million for the third, and $2.653 million for the fourth. The state's economy will not receive a single cent of those millions. In fact, due to the loss of federal funds, we can't even recoup the federal tax dollars we paid into the system. Does that make any sense?
Categories: Appropriations Committee, Legislative
Wednesday, January 29, 2014The SDSEO has been at every hearing of the Joint Committee on Appropriations this session. There were two hearings today, one from 8 a.m. to noon and one later in the day. The first was Day 2 of the Department of Social Services briefings, and the second was a second round for the Bureau of Human Resources. BHR basically went through the present state health plan today, with assistance from contractors like Dakotacare. The 2015 proposed health plan was mostly not a topic. The materials presented are here, under "1/29 BHR Follow-up Presentation." This was the fourth day, overall, for BHR hearings with JCA.
Tomorrow, you can find the SDSEO at the morning JCA hearing, which is Day 3 for Social Services. The agenda is here. You can listen in here. And we'll also be at the 3 p.m. Senate Retirement Laws hearing, where the four South Dakota Retirement System bills will be heard. The agenda is here. The SDSEO will testify in support of each of those bills, all of which are supported by the SDRS Board of Trustees, including the support of the state employee and BOR employees on the board. You can listen to the hearing here.
Categories: Appropriations Committee, Bureau of Human Resources, Legislative, South Dakota Retirement System
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
- House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, Room 464, 7:45 a.m (Depts. of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Game, Fish and Parks briefings) - Agenda
- Joint Appropriations, LCR 1, 8 a.m. (Dept. of Education budget briefing) - Agenda
- Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, Room 412, 10 a.m. (Depts. of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Game, Fish and Parks updates) - Agenda
- Senate Commerce and Energy Committee, Room 423, 10 a.m. (South Dakota Lottery Commission overview) - Agenda
Categories: Appropriations Committee
Monday, January 20, 2014The first week of the 2014 South Dakota Legislative Session, the 89th session in South Dakota history, started with the South Dakota Joint Committee on Appropriations taking state government employee proposals. The committee heard from the Bureau of Finance and Management's commissioner Jason Dilges and Bureau of Human Resources commissioner Laurie Gill. The Thursday BFM testimony was pretty much laid out in Gov. Daugaard's state budget address, and showed raises in compensation. The slides used are here. Compensation is on page 11. Below is a chart based on info from page 11:
Recommended Increases General Federal Federal Other
3% Across the Board and
Market Increases $9,772,471 $5,442,344 $11,678,982
3% Adjustment Toward Job Worth (PACE) $2,797,040 $1,346,040 $1,828,3780
4.5% Pay for Performance (Career Bands) $585,673 $544,366 $1,587,957
Targeted Compensation Adjustments $454,727 $224,340 $304,730
Employee Health Insurance Increase $6,756,462 $3,902,062 $7,286,652
Total Cost of Recommendation $20,366,373 $11,459,152 $22,686,699
Remaining FY2014 Compensation Pool $(32,711) $(190,766) $(464,725)
Total Increase for Compensation Plan $20,333,662 $11,268,386 $22,221,974
So we see that the proposed salary policy leads to a raise in compensation across the spectrum. But the Friday BHR-centered hearing showed that raises in compensation may have been proposed, but so have increases in deductible and out-of-pocket costs for the employee and dependents. That proposal would see families paying prohibitively more for health care. The slides used are here
Under the BHR proposal, deductibles would rise from a low of $500 to $750, and from $1,000 to $1,250 (no change on $1,800 HSA). And out-of-pocket costs would rise from $2,500 to $3,250, from $3,500 to $4,250, and from $3,600 to $4,350. In addition, higher prescription drug costs, the halving of the retirement subsidy, and the elimination of the COBRA subsidy were offered. Altogether, it totals $5.8 million, and that's all born by the employees, straight out of their pockets. That's a problem.
The worst of it is, though, that these costs would disproportionately affect the lowest paid workers. I think of the families that really comprise the backbone of South Dakota, those helmed by heads of household earning less than $40,000 per year. I'd say most of those families have children, and you know how it is to be a parent: children regularly go to the doctor. Then I imagine having to pay an extra $250 per person for the deductible (so, at least an extra $750 to $1,000 per family), and $750 per person for the out-of-pocket (about $2,250 to $3,000 per family). That all adds up to an extra $3,000 to $4,000 per family per year. As far as family finances are concerned, that's a catastrophic health plan. And for families in the $20,000 to $60,000 range, it's just catastrophic.
The SDSEO will be working hard to see that legislative amendments or other remedies are made. We need your help. One thing you can do is join the SDSEO, as we need your voice with us in the Capitol. Another thing you can do is talk about the SDSEO, and how we're working for you: spread the word about the SDSEO. Yet another thing you can do is talk to your district legislators; you can find them here. An email, phone call, visit, or letter about your concerns goes for more than a session's worth of lobbying by the SDSEO.
Categories: Appropriations Committee, Bureau of Finance and Management, Bureau of Human Resources, Legislative, Movement to Job Worth, Retirees
Monday, March 25, 2013The state health plan will see changes in FY 2014. FY 2014 begins July 1, 2013. The South Dakota Bureau of Human Resources proposed to the 2013 Legislature the following changes, all of which were accepted and approved as part of the budgeting process:
- 5% dependent premium increase for all plans.
- The FY 2013 rates for active employees in 2013 are here. Apply 5% to the applicable rate with a dependent to find the FY 2014 rate, which begins on July 1. Example: Employee and One Child - FY 2013 rate is $41.35 semimonthly; FY 2014 is $43.42 semimonthly; that's a 5% increase of $2.07 semimonthly.
- 12% retiree premium increase.
- The FY 2013 rates for retirees are here. Apply 12% to the applicable rate to find the FY 2014 rate.
- 5% COBRA increase.
- Co-pays removed on $500 and $1,000 deductible plans, except the ER co-pay, which remains.
The employee cost of these changes is $5.6 million; that's the amount of increase that users of the state health plan will pay over their cost in FY 2013. The $5.6 million comes from an additional $1.1 million in premiums, and $4.5 million in member cost sharing.
The state's costs are increasing as well. FY 2014 will see the state invest an additional $12.3 million in the health plan. The Legislature, in Appropriations, decided against a proposed wellness plan that would have cost an additional $8.1 million. That wellness plan would have alleviated the cost born by employees with the premium and cost-sharing changes because the bulk of the funds would have gone to employees who successfully completed quarterly wellness initiatives. There will be exploration and discussion of wellness initiatives over the summer.
Categories: Appropriations Committee, Benefits, Bureau of Human Resources, Health, Legislative, Lifetime Members, Member