Emergency HMO contracts lined up

Emergency HMO contracts lined up

SPRINGFIELD — The state has lined up 90-day emergency contracts with two HMO health plan providers to make sure state employees and retirees are covered for a new plan year kicking in July 1.

The emergency contracts were arranged with Coventry Health Care (formerly PersonalCare) and Health Alliance Medical Plans, both of which have submitted proposals to provide coverage for 2013 and beyond, according to the Illinois Department of Central Management Services.

The 90-day contracts will be effective July 1, with an option to be extended if needed, said Mike Claffey, a spokesman for the state Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

Claffey said the state decided to offer the HMO plans under emergency contracts because officials wanted employees to have a full range of health plan choices and there was concern that there wouldn't be enough time to adequately score the bids in time to make choices by the start of the new benefits plan year July 1.

If any changes need to be made later, he said, a special enrollment period will be held to allow state members to change their coverage selections if they want.

State employee and retiree benefits enrollment began May 1, and is set to wrap up June 15.

In addition to the two HMO plans, state employees and retirees in Champaign, Coles, DeWitt, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Iroquois, Moultrie, Piatt and Vermilion counties can also choose an open access plans operated by HealthLink and Coventry. A BlueAdvantage HMO is also available in DeWitt County, according to a state benefits plan map.

Health Alliance spokeswoman Kelli Anderson said state members who are already being covered by a Health Alliance HMO and want that coverage to continue don't need to do anything to keep it.

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Sid Saltfork wrote on May 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm

The State Auditor's audit of the bidding process last year found "conflicts of interest" by staff in the Department of Healthcare and Family Service.  The "conflicts of interest" resulted in bids from Health Alliance, and others being shoved aside.   This year, things were left to the last minute again.  Part of it was due to the legislators bill on retirees paying more for their health insurance.  The Department of Central Management Services, and the legislature have not determined yet how much the retirees will be charged for their health insurance.  The bill was passed, and is awaiting Mr. Fuddles signature.  The results has been a bill passed with no information in it, no rates set, no decision on who will be awarded the insurance contracts, and the curiousity of whether "conflicts of interest" exist again.   Whether you are a public employee, or a public employee hater; you have to admit that the state can not manage a two car parade.