CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The PEIA Task Force is set to dive into the plan’s ins and outs.

The task force established by Gov. Jim Justice will have its second meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the West Virginia Theater in the State Culture Center.


Ted Cheatham

The focus will be on how the Public Employees Insurance Agency works and what its financial status is. The meeting will be streamed on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for those who wish to watch online. Information is also available at

The session will be led by PEIA Director Ted Cheatham.

In comments after the first task force meeting, Cheatham described PEIA in terms of supply and demand.

“To me, it’s a very straightforward approach. We receive X amount of revenue, and our plan design generates X amount of claims. We don’t make a profit. We have a very low admin. And the plan benefit structure we have is to support the claim payments that we have,” he said.

He said any change in the financial structure is likely to result in a trade-off.

“Can you change that? Can you lower co-pays? Sure. I’ll need more money because I’ll be getting less on the co-pay side,” Cheatham said.

“Can I restructure some of the things we cover in the plan? Could we stop covering this and cover that? Sure. These are ideas we should all be talking about; make sure we’re using the limited resources we have as effectively as possible.

“But at the moment, the way we’re structured, we’re paying the claims as they are. So anything you restructure is going to involve either more revenue or a tradeoff.”

The task force, chaired by Justice Administration Chief of Staff Mike Hall, had its first meeting March 13.

Following that meeting, Hall offered a preview of the one ahead.

Mike Hall

“We’ll go over in detail how this plan works,” Hall said. “What I would think we would have to do as a task force is to know exactly what we’re talking about.

“You’ll see how all the different things work, what drives the costs, what the reserves are. I think that’ll be critical as we go forward.”

The task force is part of a pledge the governor made on Tuesday to teachers during the regular legislative session.

Teachers and other West Virginia public employees have complained about skyrocketing out-of-pocket insurance costs.

The PEIA Finance Board agreed to freeze the plan for the coming fiscal year as it is currently structured, scrapping plans to weigh total household income and additional tiers.

But teachers and other public employees have been pushing to shore up PEIA over the long haul.

“What happens going forward?” Cheatham asked. “Because we know PEIA needs more money every year because of medical trends. That’s the fix is how do we get a plan for the long years? Three years, four years, five years down the road. That’s the real crux is how do we get more money.

“The second piece of it is, is there a way that we can stop or slow or diminish the claim spend so that we don’t need as much money year after year?”

In his executive order establishing the task force, Governor Justice wrote that possibilities for shoring up the health insurance program could include additional severance taxes on oil and natural gas, gaming revenue from sports betting, tax dollars being generated from roads projects and continued growth of the state economy.

During the first task force meeting, members of the group were organized into three subcommittees focusing on public outreach, coverage and plan, and cost and revenue.

Hall said the goal is to have recommendations at least in time for December legislative interim meetings and also in time for the PEIA Finance Board to start considering plans for the 2020 fiscal year.

The 29 task force members include:

  • Marty Becker, chairman of the board of directors, QBE Insurance Group
  • Greg Burton, chief executive officer of Brickstreet Insurance
  • Andy Paterno, chief executive officer of Centurion Insurance Services
  • Joe Letnaunchyn, president and CEO, West Virginia Hospital Association
  • Rob Alsop, vice president for strategic initiatives, West Virginia University
  • Nelson Spencer, McDowell County Schools superintendent
  • Perry Bryant, founder, West Virginians for Affordable Healthcare
  • Senator Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson)
  • Senator Robert Plymale (D-Wayne)
  • Senator Craig Blair (R-Berkeley)
  • Delegate Eric Nelson (R-Kanawha)
  • Delegate Roger Hanshaw (R-Clay)
  • Delegate Mick Bates (D-Raleigh)
  • Geoff Christian, current member of the PEIA Finance Board
  • Christine Campbell, president, American Federation of Teachers West Virginia
  • Dale Lee, president, West Virginia Education Association
  • James “Joe” White, Executive Director, West Virginia School Service Personnel Association
  • Dr. Rahul Gupta, commissioner of Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health and State Health Officer
  • Douglas Kirk, Division of Highways
  • Lieutenant Michael LaFauci, West Virginia State Police
  • Jeffrey Reed, retired Wood Circuit Court judge
  • Judy Hale, retired public educator and former AFT president.
  • Beth “Buffy” Hammers, chief executive officer, Marshall Health
  • Helen Matheny, director of collaborative relations and initiatives, WVU Health Sciences Center
  • Lisa M. Simon, certified public accountant, Wheeling
  • Sarita Beckett, public school teacher, Raleigh County
  • Dr. Sherri Young, Medicare medical director, Aetna Insurance
  • Amy Loring, human resources director and director of staffing and employee relations, Berkeley County Schools



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