Bee Business Staff
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009 – 12:00 am | Page 8B

The CalPERS board will vote today on whether to raise premiums by as much as 22 percent for enrollees in its long-term care insurance plan.

Members of the pension fund’s Health Benefits Committee on Tuesday recommended increases for 2010 ranging from 15 percent to 22 percent, depending on individual coverage options.

CalPERS said the rate hike is necessary because of heavy investment losses and the disproportionate number of people drawing benefits compared to those paying in.

“This is a painful decision for the board, particularly in light of the current economic challenges our members are facing,” Priya Mathur, chairwoman of the health committee, said in a news release Tuesday. “However, we have a fiduciary duty to ensure the long-term sustainability of this program.”

About 160,000 members of CalPERS and their relatives statewide are enrolled in the plan, which offers options covering assisted living, nursing home care, home care and other services. As word of a sizeable premium increase has circulated in recent months, many of those members have contacted CalPERS.

“We’ve received quite a few letters from people, and we’ve received e-mails. There were quite a few people who came today to make public comment,” said Jeanie Esajian, a spokeswoman for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

Unlike standard health care benefits offered by CalPERS, premiums for long-term care insurance are paid entirely by individual members and not by the state or local government entities that employ them.

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