published Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Hamilton County Commission delays vote on employee health insurance

by Dan Whisenhunt
  • photo
    In this file photo, Hamilton County Commissioner Larry Henry participates in a county commission meeting at the courthouse.
    Staff File Photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Hamilton County commissioners delayed a vote today to switch the county's insurance administrator from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee to Cigna.

The move came after BlueCross officials told commissioners they had filed a protest of the recommendation to award the contract to Cigna.

Cigna says it can save the county $1 million in a budget year in which the county is looking for savings everywhere.

Tony Pepper, business segment director of major accounts at BlueCross, told commissioners there were several things in Cigna’s proposal the commission is not factoring into a decision.

“BlueCross BlueShield is afraid that we're going lose your business,” Pepper told commissioners. “Your employees are afraid. Being afraid is not healthy.”

A group of county employees showed up at the meeting, groaning and shaking their heads as a county benefits consultant explained the advantages of switching to Cigna.

BlueCross has held the contract to administer the county’s insurance since commissioners switched from Cigna in 2003.

Commissioners, who are covered by the county's insurance, have said they were wary of the switch.

Commissioners will consider the proposal again on May 26.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

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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Leaf said...

Cigna has a terrible record of paying the claims they owe. They might come in as the cheapest because they're the worst. Cigna's tactics seem to be to delay payment to healthcare providers and mess up their paperwork as much as possible so that claims just go unpaid. That means more money in Cigna's pocket, and less money in the pockets of Tennessee healthcare providers. That's a net loss for the residents of TN.

May 18, 2011 at 3:09 p.m.
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