A new audit finds serious problems with the way Illinois awarded $7 billion in contracts for state employees' health insurance. In a report released Wednesday, Auditor General William Holland says Illinois awarded Blue Cross Blue Shield contracts in 24 counties where it didn't have primary care doctors. The audit cites other problems, including that the state's Department of Healthcare and Family Services using a consulting firm with business ties to insurers. The audit says the problems affect more than 400,000 employees and their dependents. The contracts have been challenged in court by insurers upset they weren't chosen by the state. Department Director Julie Hamos has responded to the audit in a letter. She says the overall procurement process was "executed in a fair and competitive manner."
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