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CMS adds insurance enrollment period

June 1, 2011

Employees have until June 17 to select from the current group of health insurance providers available.

However, according to a memo received from Central Management Services on Wednesday, there will be a Special Enrollment period at the end of the year where employees can make changes to their health carrier plans based on changes in provider networks and other member considerations.

This announcement was made in response to Senate Bill 178, which was passed by the General Assembly, on May 30, to address confusion among state employees stemming from the elimination of Health Alliance as a managed care option beginning July 1, 2011. The bill returns responsibility for selecting state employee insurance providers back to CMS, and it defines a set of circumstances under which the existing insurance options could be reinstated.

Specifically, the bill notes that if the chief procurement officer responsible for awarding the health insurance contracts has not finalized all written contracts within 90 days prior to the start of the fiscal year, then the Commission on Governmental Forecasting and Accountability may direct the chief procurement officer to not finalize the contracts and seek to extend the existing contracts for a term of two years.  It is not known at this time if Senate Bill 178 will impact the new FY2012 contracts.

In the meantime, employees MUST select a health insurance carrier prior to the Benefits Choice period deadline of June 17. They may select from the following plans: Blue Advantage HMO, HMO Illinois, HealthLink OAP, PersonalCare OAP and QCHP.

“There is no guarantee Senate 178 will affect the new health care providers. If it does, HRS will notify campus as soon as possible,” said Steve Cunningham, NIU vice president for Human Resources. “Employees are encouraged to make their decisions prior to the June 17 deadline to avoid being defaulted into the Quality Care Health Plan.”

Human Resource Services will be offering informational sessions to assist employees with questions about health insurance. These sessions, previously advertised as being held at HRS have now been moved to the Holmes Student Center at the following times and locations:

  • June 3 from 3:00 to 4:30, Holmes Student Center – Illinois Room
  • June 8 from 10:30 – noon, Holmes Student Center – Diversions
  • June 8 from 3:00 to 4:30, Holmes Student Center – Capitol Room

Should you have any questions, please contact Human Resource Services Insurance Office at 753-6000.  HRS staff will also be available at main HRS location on Friday, June 17 from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. to assist with final questions and paperwork.

For more information on insurance options, visit