Health Alliance Removed from State Retiree Health Coverage

Oct 2, 2013

The state of Illinois has removed Urbana-based Health Alliance from its list of retiree contracts, as of January 2014.

That will force six-thousand retired state employees who rely on Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana for care 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, but none one of them have Carle in its list of providers.  

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’ve demonstrated already that they aren’t concerned about these retirees, and those who have to change their health care providers in addition to their health care coverage.”

There are 15-thousand state retirees who rely on Health Alliance.   Democratic State Representative Naomi Jakobsson of Urbana says she’s surprised by the announcement: “I do know that there are numerous retirees who have Health Alliance, and especially for retirees because they may have had a long-going relationship with a physician and really want to stay with that physician.”

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.

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