State Ethics Officials Fine Former Chief of Benefit Board $20,000

The Oregon Government Ethics Commission fined James Raussen the maximum amount for numerous violations, including a night in Las Vegas, wine tasting, a Portland Trail Blazer playoff game and lavish meals.

Oregon ethics officials have fined the former director of a state agency in charge of insurance benefits for educators $20,000 for numerous violations.

OEBB Bails on Wellness Program that Didn’t Show Results

The health benefit plan for teachers gave more than $10 million in incentives to members over the past four school years but was hampered in its attempts to verify whether the Healthy Futures program made members healthier or saved money.

The Oregon Educators Benefit Board spent $10.5 million on a wellness program its advisors now say didn’t show results in improving the health of its members, and OEBB had no way of knowing if it saved money on medical costs.

OEBB Cuts Drug Benefit, Increases Dental Fees to Keep Costs Down

The board tried to avoid cuts to teachers’ health benefits by encouraging them to shift to coordinated care, by cutting administrative costs and by offering more catastrophic plans, but some small benefit cuts were enacted for the next school year.

The Oregon Educators Benefit Board approved a list of creative solutions to keep the health benefits for the state’s teachers below the caps mandated by the Legislature.

Parrish Pitches Plan to Scrap PEBB, OEBB and Move Workers to Exchange

West Linn Republican Rep. Julie Parrish plans to reintroduce legislation that will change the health benefits for public employees from a defined benefit to a defined contribution equal to the cap on health costs for individuals before the federal excise tax kicks on -- $10,200. Employees would be able to purchase a gold plan on the exchange, plus have money leftover for a health savings account. The plan would also likely cost much less than what’s currently provided -- a savings that’s produced by ending much of the generous benefits now given to children and spouses of public employees.

Rep. Julie Parrish, R-West Linn, plans toreintroduce legislation in February that would dramatically change the way the state and local government assists with health coverage for their employees, scrapping the Public Employees Benefit Board, the Oregon Educators Benefit Board and other health plans in favor of a defined contribution that teachers and state workers would use to purchase a health plan off the federal exchange.

OEBB Puts Off New Contract Discussions for Another Year

The Oregon Educators Benefit Board will not have a better designed health contract in place before the 2017-2018 school year, raising questions about whether the health plan for teachers will be able to keep medical cost inflation anywhere near the 3.4 percent cap set by the Legislature.

The Oregon Educators Benefit Board voted unanimously Tuesday to delay its contract redesign for another year, arguing they are not yet prepared to take on the extensive work to rethink their health plan to save on costs while improving the patient experience.


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