"health Cost" written next to medical equipment

The Georgia Board of Community Health approved a premium increase Thursday for state employees.

Credit: Capitol Beat News Service

ATLANTA — State employees, public school teachers and retirees will pay 5% more for health insurance coverage next year on average.

The Georgia Board of Community Health approved the premium increase Thursday, only the second in the last six years. The increase, which takes effect Jan. 1, will cost enrollees in the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) $7.25 per month on average for those covered through individual plans and $23.61 a month for families.

The state Department of Community Health held SHBP premiums flat in 2019, 2020, 2022 and 2023. Premiums increased 5% in 2021.

But the costs of health care are on the rise following the COVID pandemic, as enrollees who put off wellness checks during the pandemic — including cancer screenings — are resuming those appointments, SHBP Executive Director Louis Amis told board members Thursday.

”We will see increases in medical inflation as we move forward,” he said.

Amis said the SHBP began covering the full cost of diagnostic mammograms for members last month. Full coverage of colonoscopies and retinal eye exams for diabetes will begin in January, he said.

“These are preventive measures we hope will improve members’ quality of life while managing costs,” he said.

Open enrollment for 2024 will begin Oct. 16 and run through Nov. 3.

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with Capitol Beat News Service