Health Alliance, local lawmakers evaluating options after contract snub

Health Alliance, local lawmakers evaluating options after contract snub

The head of Urbana-based Health Alliance said he is unsure if his company will appeal after it lost out on a state contract for Medicare coverage for retired state employees.

President and CEO of Health Alliance Jeff Ingrum said this case is different from the 2011 contract for state employees. In that case, the insurance provider didn't receive contract in the initial round of bids but eventually was awared a contract.

Ingrum said the bid this time was thrown out due to a technical issue with the bid requirements.

Ingrum added that the concern with filing an appeal is that the same person who awarded the contracts will be the same person who would hear an appeal.  He said ideally a third party would be the one to review appeals but said the rules aren't set up that way.

Meanwhile, Carle Foundation Hospital spokesperson Kelli Anderson said that Carle does not have any existing contracts with the four health care companies that won contracts for Medicare Advantage.  Anderson said patients can could still get treated at Carle; they would just be out of network.

United Healthcare, Humana Health Plan, Humana Benefit Plan of Illinois and Aetna  Life Insurance Company were the plans chosen by the state.  The contracts take effect Jan. 1.

Elsewhere, an area state senator said until the details are released, it remains to be seen what impact the change in Medicare coverage will have on state retirees.

Republican Chapin Rose of Mahomet said Governor Pat Quinn structured the proposal for bids on the contracts for Medicare coverage, and Rose said if Quinn followed his own guidelines for choosing the contracts, there may not be much the lawmakers can do.

But Rose said the state apparently didn't learn it's lesson from two years ago when Health Alliance was initially not awarded a contract for state employees.  That left thousands of people without an area in-network insurance provider until Health Alliance was eventually awarded a contract.

Meanwhile, Democratic State Senator Mike Frerichs of Champaign is the co-chair for the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.  Frerichs said he plans to request a hearing to get more details on the decision by the state to not award a contract for Medicare coverage to Health Alliance.

Sections (2):News, Local
Topics (1):Health Care

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JimmyB wrote on October 03, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Please explain to me how it is a “SNUB” since Carle did not get awarded a contract in the bid process? Carle aka: Health Alliance was beat fair & square in the bidding process. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that Carle’s prices are out of line with other health care providers!

BlahBlahBlah2013 wrote on October 03, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Frerichs and Rose: Apparently these guys have nothing better to do than support Health Alliance. 1) They likely receive contributions from HAMP 2) They love to jump on the bandwagon because, well, that's what shameless politicians do.

Of course HAMP will appeal. Duh. When baby HAMP was a toddler it cried whenever it didn't get its way. It found that this manipulative behavior yielded great results. Many years later, as a supposed adult, HAMP employed these same childish tactics. Will the State give HAMP its baby bottle this time? Or let them cry themselves to sleep? Only time will tell.

BlahBlahBlah2013 wrote on October 03, 2013 at 9:10 pm

I have an idea! Why don't we have the CEO of Health Alliance go on Jim Turpin's radio show and plead his case? Jim Turpin gets a check from Health Alliance so it only makes sense that he should allow Mr. Ingrum full access to the airwaves. Jim Turpin...the pinnacle of biased local news.

loopillini wrote on October 04, 2013 at 10:10 am

Rep. Rose and Sen Frerichs should ABSOLUTELY look into this award. This not only affects thousands of constituents covered by Health Alliance, but also the potential for lost business to a large area business. No matter what your personal gripes might be with Carle, Health Alliance or both, this ruling affects real people in Central Illimois in a negative way.