Letter: What’s the real motive behind hospital dropping PEBB?

Editor,

As a recently retired employee of the University of Washington, I can well understand why WhidbeyHealth’s retired employees are upset to learn at the 11th hour of their former employer’s decision to drop health insurance coverage with the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB). I count myself fortunate that for over 32 years I have had insurance through PEBB, which because of its large base of more than 300,000 members, is able to negotiate affordable health plans, both for state employees and for retirees.

According to WhidbeyHealth CEO Geri Forbes, the PEBB system is “very old” and unable to “design, develop and implement targeted health programs to enhance the health and wellness of our current staff.” This is surprising to me, because the SmartHealth program that is one of the PEBB benefits is specifically designed to increase employee wellness. Using information supplied by employees in an annual confidential wellness survey, SmartHealth provides participants with targeted recommendations for improving their health and wellness. Over the years, I found my customized tips helpful, and I am glad I can continue to utilize this benefit as a retiree.

While much was made in the article of WhidbeyHealth’s desire to enhance employee health and wellness, another motive seemed to be mentioned almost in passing: “a potential financial benefit.” I can only wonder if that is the real reason behind the change. If I were an employee or retiree affected by this decision, I would want to know the truth.

Teresa Di Biase

Langley

More in Opinion

In our opinion: Dealing with domestic violence is often complex

The most dangerous place for a woman is her home. Statistics on… Continue reading

In our opinion: You’re not alone if you are irritated by slow drivers

A peculiar quirk of some Whidbey Island drivers is to travel slightly… Continue reading

Sound Off: SPIN Cafe is in urgent need of a new home

SPIN Cafe exists to serve people in need. Today, SPIN itself is… Continue reading

In our opinion: Remove the politics from development permit decisions

A proposal to remove the Oak Harbor City Council from quasi-judicial decisions… Continue reading

Officials share what they’re grateful for this Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving season, we contacted various elected officials on Whidbey and asked… Continue reading

Sound off: Hoping nation has a reason to be thankful someday

This newspaper asked me to name a few things for which I… Continue reading

In our opinion: Affordable housing should be a top legislative priority

Elected officials across Whidbey Island are completing their wish lists for Olympia.… Continue reading

In Our Opinion: Irregularities in posted election results can’t be ignored

Based on precinct results posted on the official elections website for Island… Continue reading

Greatest generation quickly slipping into history

Just before Veterans Day, the last known survivor of the Japanese attack… Continue reading

Editorial: Hizon, Busig and Severns will represent the entire community

It’s ironic that Oak Harbor City Council candidate Michael Crawford claims the… Continue reading

Cartoon for Oct. 9, 2019

Cartoon for Oct. 9, 2019… Continue reading