LACERS BOARD UPDATE
By Michael R. Wilkinson, LACERS Commissioner
The LACERS Benefits Administration Committee is directing LACERS staff and its health consultant, Keenan & Associates, to begin the process to approve the 2023 medical, dental and vision contracts. I know, it seems it was only yesterday that we finished open enrollment for the 2022 plan year.
This year, LACERS is undergoing the somewhat more streamlined Request for Renewal Process with our current carriers rather than the more involved Request for Proposal Process. This route was taken because of the timing and the crush of other projects such as the RFP for the health and welfare consultant.
The process begins by sending out a Request for Renewal to each carrier asking about any new and additional programs and the cost as well as alternative pricing. Then the staff and Keenan evaluate the responses and critically analyze the method to come up with the premium proposal. After additional negotiation, the final proposal is sent to the Benefits Committee, which I chair, and finally to the full Board of Administration.
LACERS has been successful in improving the health plans while keeping the premiums under control. The 2022 total health and welfare program is $149.9 million in premiums. The average premium change is far less than the trend rate for other plans over three years. LACERS premiums went down 0.5 percent, while the average was an increase of 6.9 percent per year over the three-year period.
Some of the improvements to our plans over recent years include free gym memberships, meals sent to homes, transportation to medical appointments, and medical alert devices.
LACERS will continue to work closely with staff and the consultant to improve the LACERS Well program and to tailor it to improving members’ health. This also has the added benefit to lower the premium costs so that we can provide better health plans for less cost.
Some goals for the new plan year are:
- Getting performance guarantees, which would trigger penalties on security breaches
- Increasing funding for our very popular LACERS Well program, and
- Minimize the impact of COVID-19.