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.