Senator Bill Brady is urging constituents who are affected by the changes to closely follow local media outlets and check the Health Alliance, Humana and CMS Web sites. Current workers and retirees should also stay in contact with their insurance point person.
The state’s announced switch to Blue Cross/Blue Shield has sparked an outcry from a number of downstate residents, many of whom have concerns about the quality and continuity of the health care they’ll receive under the new plan.
The Department of Healthcare and Family Services has estimated that switching to Blue Cross/Blue Shield could save more than $100 million annually, and reach $1 billion in savings over 10 years. However, Health Alliance and Humana dispute those numbers, contending that moving to Blue Cross/Blue Shield will actually cost the state millions.
In late May, a majority of COGFA members voted on a resolution to withdraw COGFA’s advice-and-consent on the state’s policy of self-insuring.
Though the Commission members do not have authority to block the contract, the move was an attempt to force the state to rebid the contract. However, Quinn Administration officials pointed to a legal opinion by the Attorney General that they say nullifies COGFA’s resolution, and on May 25 the Executive Ethics Commission publicly announced that the state will move forward with the plan, despite legislative and public protests.
Health Alliance and Humana contend that disregarding COGFA’s recommendation is illegal.