Lawmakers ask what happens after state rolls through PEIA Rainy Day Fund

By Brad McElhinny, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Public Employees Insurance Agency’s plan for the coming year includes no rate increases and no benefit cuts, but the plan might have to dip into a Rainy Day Fund.

Lawmakers asked about what happens if that fund, which was established last year by Gov. Jim Justice and the Legislature, is spent down.

“I will be here asking for more revenue,” PEIA Director Ted Cheatham said, “or we’ll be reducing benefits.”

Cheatham provided an update Tuesday before the Select Committee on PEIA, Seniors and Long Term Care.

Although the insurance program is stable right now, the status of insurance for West Virginia public employees, including teachers, has been contentious for the past couple of years.

Two years ago, rising out-of-pocket insurance costs were a major factor in a statewide teachers strike that lasted more than a week.