Miners' Hospital Board
Mary Ellen Young
The entire staff that facilitates the daily operation of the Miner’s Hospital Funds consists of 2 part time Administrative Assistants and 1 full time Executive Director. We have two offices where the highest concentrations of miners reside: Rock Springs and Gillette. We have over 8,000 active miners registered for benefits and our 2021-2022 biannual budget is $9,694,055. We have one contract and that is with EBMS (Employment Benefit Management Services) out of Billings Montana and they process all of our medical and hearing aid claims.
Agency Background & Structure
Initial authority for money allocation and for the building of the “Miner’s Hospital” was in 1890 when WY became the 44th state in the Union. The funds come from various land grants totaling 30,000 acres, not the general fund. 1999-2000 A study was conducted by BBC Research from Denver to find the health consequences that miners suffer more than the general population. From the BBC Study, the Miners’ Fund addresses 4 areas of health:
The Miners’ Hospital Board was created by the Legislature in 2001 and is made up of 9 members with parameters changing over the years. Wyoming Statute 30-06-102 stipulates that the amount available for appropriation annually to the MHB (Miner’s Hospital Board) account shall not exceed 5% of the balance of both the miner’s hospital account and the miner’s hospital board income account; both accounts are within the permanent land fund.
Hardship Program was established in August of 2011 to assist miners that have a high prescription expense, very limited income and no insurance. The hardship allows for a miner to present a special card to their pharmacy for prescriptions that are in line with MHB benefits and the pharmacy then bills EBMS in full so the miner does not have to file a prescription claim and then wait for reimbursement. This benefit is renewed every year.
The Miner’s Mobile Wellness Program was established in November of 2003 and offered full yearly health exams complete with chest x-rays. The Program was discontinued in November of 2012 after it was determined that the wellness testing was a duplication of benefits offered by most employers. This was a considerable expense to MHB and the Board felt there was a better use for our funds.
The Hearing Aid Program was established in June of 2003 initially with $1,000 available per miner for one set of hearing aids. That program has evolved to offer benefits for hearing aids every five years and in 2020 the benefit will increase from $2,000 to $3,000; still on five year availability. In 2015 the Board voted to offer financial assistance for hearing aid repairs that consists of $250.00 per aid, 2 times for the life of that hearing aid. This was done to help keep the hearing aids in working condition until the Miner was able to receive financial assistance for a new hearing aid or set of aids.
The Miners’ Medical Assistance Program was established in October of 2003 with $1,000 available per miner per year. This program has gone through several changes and currently offers the miner a maximum of $5,000 every calendar year. Because of ever increasing enrollment in January of 2018 the Board instituted a $2,000 deductible to be paid by the miner after MHB had paid out $2,000 in eligible benefits. After the miner meets their deductible they are eligible for the additional $3,000. In the spring of 2018 the Joint Appropriations Committee introduced Bill SF0082 that changed the length of employment eligibility from 12 consecutive months to 10 total years of employment as a miner. This bill did not apply to person registered to receive benefits before July 1, 2018.