published Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Hamilton County sends warning on Cigna

by Dan Whisenhunt

County Commissioners are already hearing complaints three weeks into the county’s switch from BlueCross BlueShield to Cigna to manage its self-funded insurance.

Commissioners discussed the contract during their meeting this morning while considering a company to administer the county’s COBRA plan.

Chairman Larry Henry said county employees are saying they’re being declined on surgeries and that their doctors are advising them to get any necessary procedures done before the plan takes effect July 1.

“I have already received phone calls about the bedside manner of Cigna,” Commissioner Fred Skillern said.

“I’ve had several complaints, too, and I’m really unhappy,” Commissioner Chester Bankston said.

Mayor Jim Coppinger, who encouraged the switch in an effort to save money on health insurance, urged commissioners to contact the county’s top-level staff with their concerns.

The contract has a 60-day out clause.

about Dan Whisenhunt...

Dan Whisenhunt covers Hamilton County government for the Times Free Press. A native of Mobile, Ala., Dan earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Alabama. He won first place for best in-depth news coverage in the 2010 Alabama Press Association contest; the FOI-First Amendment Award in the 2007 Alabama Press Association contest; first place for best public service story in the Alabama AP Managing Editors contest in 2009 for economic coverage; and ...

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reneet said...

How can there be problems already???? They aren't even active wth Cigna yet! Any denials are coming from their current insurer - Blue Cross, i think it is...... Could it be that bcbst is stirring things up to quash the decision of our elected officials to move to the higher value insurer??? I know our commisioners are smart enough to see through this!

June 9, 2011 at 11:40 a.m.
JoeHill said...

Blue Cross? Cigna? Neither. The health and wellbeing of our citizens ought not to be the plaything of organizations concerned only about making profit. Did you know, by the way, that HMOs are beyond congressional inquiry and oversight? They bought that legislation in the middle of the last century. Not even Obama's legislation changes that state of affairs.

June 9, 2011 at 1:23 p.m.

@JoeHill No-one but the government is trying to make you buy insurance. Why don't you just forego insurance and pay the doctor directly? See? No profit for the insurance company. You should be much happier paying the doctors and hospitals directly. Right?

June 9, 2011 at 1:38 p.m.
JoeHill said...

What if someone loses their job through no fault of their own, FPSE, and can't pay the doctor or hospital? Do they deserve to die or suffer?

You know, you sound like a creepy lobbyist for an HMO, working in the shadows to weaken our democracy with big money. You think your rhetorical question scares people about the prospect of not having insurance to help pay for medical care, which, for all we know or can't on account of HMO backed legislation, may be jacked up by said HMOs. There's no denying that Americans pay more per capita on healthcare than nations with universal healthcare. There's a lot of redundancy and waste in our privately run system. Not so efficient, huh?

June 10, 2011 at 9:04 a.m.
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