- Associated Press - Thursday, June 28, 2018

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The Public Employees Insurance Agency Taskforce has begun work of coming up with plans for comprehensive reform of the health insurance plan that covers more than 200,000 West Virginians.

News outlets report the 29-member board is facing deadlines to come up with a way to end the annual cycle of premium increases and/or benefit cuts in the Public Employees Insurance Agency.

Public Outreach subcommittee Chairwoman Helen Matheney said Wednesday that public hearings brought up themes of accessibility, predictability and affordability. Ideas for revenue streams include raising natural gas severance taxes.

Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow says severance taxes can be volatile, and that West Virginia has a diversified approach to pay the roughly $500 million a year in employer premiums for PEIA, based on funding sources for employee salaries.

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