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

Sound Off: However you rock a face mask, just be sure you wear one

I’ve heard lots of dismal news about the pandemic, the public health… Continue reading

Editorial: No, we don’t need permission to report on meetings

Coupeville Mayor Molly Hughes doesn’t seem to understand a really basic function… Continue reading

Newspaper returns to broadsheet format, moves to new home

No, you aren’t imagining things. Yes, the Whidbey News-Times-South Whidbey Record you’re… Continue reading

Editorial: It’s a difficult conversation, but one we must have

The City of Langley took an important step Monday. The council entered… Continue reading

Sound Off: Addressing white silence on Whidbey Island

I have had the immense privilege of being born and raised on… Continue reading

Sound Off: Be strong, resilient and listen to each other

I have been giving considerable thought to the circumstances we, as a… Continue reading

Editorial: Answers to protests not simple, but there is hope

Editorial writers at newspapers across the nation are grasping for words when… Continue reading

Editorial: COVID responses should continue as we reopen

Island County residents have taken the response to the pandemic seriously. That… Continue reading

Memorial Day: Remember, honor those who sacrificed

I am humbled anytime I have the opportunity to pay homage to… Continue reading

Rockin’ a Hard Place: Overcoming an eerie feeling in an empty tourist town

Eerie is an onomatopoeia – a word that sounds like what it… Continue reading

Editorial: Governor, allow the show to go on at Blue Fox Drive-in

Somehow people are choosing sides when it comes to COVID-19. And it’s… Continue reading

Sound Off: Coronavirus, work must somehow coexist

By now it is apparent that, barring a miracle, a cure for… Continue reading