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State Dumps Health Alliance Again For Retirees

Thu, 03 Oct 2013 06:05:43 CDT

The state of Illinois has removed Urbana-based Health Alliance from its list of retiree contracts, as of January 2014. Thousands of retired state employees in central Illinois may have to turn to one of four other carriers by January. Those carriers include Medicare Advantage plans with Aetna Life, Humana Health, Humana Benefit or United Healthcare. Health Alliance Spokeswoman Jane Hayes says the insurer submitted a competitive bid, and can't explain why it wasn't included.

"I'm not sure what the recourse is. But, I think it might be a futile attempt. If they have demonstrated already that they are not concerned about these retirees and those who have to change their healthcare providers in addition to their healthcare coverage."

There are 15-thousand state retirees who rely on Health Alliance. Two years ago, Health Alliance wasn't chosen for state or retiree health contacts, prompting legislative and court action that eventually led to its services being restored. The insurer filed a formal protest that year. But, Hayes says she's not sure that will happen again this time. Republican State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet says he wants answers from the state about its decision this time to remove Health Alliance.

"They assured the legislature that there would be local networks in place. Now, you remember two years ago when they tried to dump all state employees from Health Alliance they had no local networks in place. They assured that wouldn't happen this time. But, I think it's awfully interesting that they're doing this under cover of darkness. That's my main goal is to try to find someone over there who can answer some damn questions."

A call seeking comment from the state about the decision was not returned.

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