State Finance Board explores options for $70 million insurance deficit

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 10:02 PM CDT
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT/KARK) - The State Board of Finance met Tuesday to discuss options on what they can do to keep public school employees’ insurance available.

According to a report from KARK, if nothing were to be done, the program will be short by an additional $70 million next year.

The board discussed different ways to increase rates and benefit changes to bring revenues for the program up.

“So what you’re looking at now is what I would consider a repeat, and it’s all based on what we’re seeing with the experience and utilization of the plan,” said Secretary of Education Johnny Key.

Larry Walther, secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration, says that the main utilization of the program is on premature births, which are very expensive and can strain the plan as a whole if there are enough cases in a short period.

“We don’t have the ability to close the gap with the options that are available to this board,” said Walther.

The board has asked the Department of Education to request a $35 million allotment from the reserve fund to help float the program through next year.

The board will decide what the rate increases will be for next year when they meet again in two weeks.

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