State issues urgent insurance update

Seal of the State of IllinoisThe insurance situation for state of Illinois employees and annuitants remains in flux.

Actions taken Tuesday, June 14, by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability have potentially opened the door to a flood of new options before the June 17 Benefits Choice deadline.

Here is a recap of what is known at this time.

Certainties:

  • As of this writing, there are only three insurance options guaranteed to be available:

· HMO Illinois

· Blue Advantage HMO

· Quality Care Health Plan (CIGNA)

  • Those wishing to participate in the MCAP flexible spending account must file their paperwork by the end of the Benefits Choice period, which expires at 4:30 p.m. Friday, June 17.
  • There will be a special Benefits Choice Period in the fall when employees will have the opportunity to select insurance coverage from a set of options. No dates for that period have been announced.

Possibilities:

  • The state might announce today or tomorrow that it has entered into 90-day contracts with insurance vendors to offer self-insured, open access plans (OAPs) that were pulled from consideration late last week. If so, employees might have the option to select:

· PersonalCare OAP

· HealthLink OAP

Employees who previously selected one of these options (prior to the June 10 court order that removed them from consideration), and who have not submitted a new choice, might not have to re-file paperwork to select this option, if it is their final choice.

  • The state might also offer the option to retain – for a short time – current insurance options that are scheduled to be discontinued in Fiscal Year 2012. If so, employees might have the option to select:

· Health Alliance HMO

· Humana HMO

· PersonalCare HMO

Those selections (if available) would remain in effect for the 90-day emergency period. It is unknown at this time what would happen after the 90-day period.

If Health Alliance HMO, Humana HMO and PersonalCare HMO are made available and employees would like to remain in these plans, no action is necessary unless they already have submitted other selection to Human Resource Services. If a selection has been submitted, a new form will be required.

Default Insurance:

  • Employees who fail to make a selection from the available  options  (or who have selected an option that is ultimately not offered by CMS) will be defaulted into the Quality Care/CIGNA.

Deadline:

The state has made it clear that it is NOT extending the Benefits Choice deadline beyond end of business Friday, June 17. All final selections must be made by that time.

Human Resource Services plans to have extra staff on hand from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the main office on Lincoln Highway to answer questions and help employees make insurance selections.

“We understand that the current chain of events has been extremely confusing and frustrating,” said Vice President for Human Resources Steven Cunningham. “All of this is very much beyond our control, and is affecting state employees across Illinois. Our staff will do everything they can to assist employees and retirees to ensure that they make the most informed decision possible on their insurance coverage in the days ahead.”

Watch for Updates:

Human Resource Services will update employees as soon as information becomes available through the following channels:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email