Some might need to pick new insurance

Change affects about 700 NIU employees

medical-symbol_thumb.jpgUniversity employees and annuitants currently enrolled in the Health Alliance Illinois insurance plan must select a new insurance carrier by Jan. 31.

Among the options available is Health Alliance HMO, a plan that is almost identical to one being eliminated – including health care providers, prescription drug plans, etc. The only substantive difference is that this plan will be a few dollars cheaper.

Health Alliance HMO has actually been available in other areas of the state for several years, but did not service DeKalb County. Effective Feb. 1, 2013, Health Alliance HMO will be available in DeKalb County. Representatives from Human Resource Services have secured commitments from major local providers to accept the plan starting Feb. 1.

“We are happy to announce that DeKalb Clinic is part of the Health Allliance HMO,” said Alice Freier, the administrator of the clinic. “We anticipate a seamless transition for our NIU patients, other than their need to present the new insurance card. We look forward to serving the NIU community.”

Officials at Kishwaukee Community Hospital said that they also are excited to accept the plan.

“We will be in network on this plan, so there will be no issues for NIU employees wishing to obtain health care from our system,” said Joe Dant, vice president of business development for KishHealth System. “There should be a seamless transition for those who already use our services, and we look forward to serving any new patients that this change may bring our way.”

The Health Alliance plan being eliminated was offered only on an interim/emergency basis while the state and the insurance company worked out issues dating back to the summer of 2011 when the State of Illinois tried to drop Health Alliance as a vendor.

Employees affected by this change will receive a memo from Human Resources Services explaining the change and what they must do. Human Resource Services also will hold meetings in early January where employees can learn about available insurance options and ask questions. Affected employees also will receive a letter from Central Management Services announcing the change and explaining how to enroll in a new plan.

To avoid any gaps in service, Human Resource Services is urging employees to make a selection prior to the Jan. 31 deadline, ideally no later than Jan. 25.

Employees not enrolled in the existing Health Alliance Illinois HMO do not need to make any changes to their insurance plans at this time.

For more information, contact Human Resource Services at (815) 753-6000.

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