Washington expands medical coverage options to education employees

Announced on Monday, the School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) approved final medical premiums, plans, and service areas for school employees. Through the SEBB Program, school employees will be able to select medical benefits between October 1 and November 15, 2019, with coverage beginning January 1, 2020.

The SEBB Program was signed into law in July 2017.  It was created to increase  transparency and accountability in state expenditures for school employee benefits, eliminate differences in benefit offerings, and make options more affordable.

 

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Over 150,000 employees will select from a variety of plans, including from Kaiser Permanente (Northwest, Washington, and Washington Options), Premera Blue Cross, and the HCA’s self-insured Uniform Medical Plan. 

The Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA), the largest purchaser of healthcare in the state, providing coverage through Apple Health and the Public Employees Benefits Board Program, will run the SEBB Program.

HCA Director, Sue Birch, said

“This is a very significant moment in our ongoing efforts to build a healthier Washington. For years, we have heard stories of school employees who have been unable to afford health care for themselves and their families. Using our purchasing power, we are able to offer a variety of options for excellent, affordable coverage.”

Spouses, domestic partners, and dependents (children up to the age 26 or with a disability), are eligible to enroll for benefits. In addition to medical coverage, dental, vision, life, accidental death, dismemberment insurance, and long-term disability insurance will be offered.

The state’s biennial budget for 2019-2021 passed in April 2019. The investment for this program is $328 million through 2021, and $837 million over four years.

For more information about the program, including how to sign up for benefits, visit SEBB’s homepage.