Gov. Justice tries to calm concerns on PEIA

FAIRLEA W. Va. (WVNS) -- It's been a topic that has been dominating headlines in West Virginia. Governor Jim Justice held a town hall meeting at the State Fairgrounds in Fairlea Tuesday, February 6th, 2018, to hear the voices of those affected by PEIA.

Justice said he has proposed a plan to help ease concerns.

"What we're trying to do is freeze it to where their insurance rates are not gonna go up no matter what the combination is of household incomes," said Justice.

Justice said freezing PEIA would be a start to the fix of a potential long-term problem.

"We've got to find a solution to proper funding of PEIA for all the years to come. That's what I'm trying to do," said Justice. 

Justice added that funding for PEIA could come from a number of things including revenue from the roads, tiering of the gas or coal severance tax, or growth within the state.

Justice also announced PEIA has decided to not make GO365 mandatory. It was a controversial program that tracked the lifestyle of people, and based premiums off their results.

Emily Haas is a teacher who attended the town hall meeting. While she believes PEIA can be a great services, she said there are some flaws that need worked out.

"I really feel like PEIA is a great benefit for public employees. Is the system broken? Yes. Does it need fixed? Yes," said Haas.

 After attending the meeting, Jayne Ford, a teacher at Ronceverte Elementary,  said she feels better about the future of West Virginia.

"I think that West Virginians need to be patient. There's a lot of work to do but it seems like we have a lot of good people working for West Virginia right now," said Ford.

Members of the finance board for PEIA will be meeting in a few days to decide whether or not they will freeze the proposed insurance plan.

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