Area legislators holding meeting on insurance

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

Area legislators are sponsoring a health insurance Benefit Choice Fair to assist current and retired state employees and teachers in choosing new providers, Rep. David R. Leitch announced.

The event will be 11a.m. to 4 p.m. June 13, in the McKenzie Room at the new Peoria Public Library North Branch, 3001 W. Grand Parkway (behind Menards off Townline Rd.)

Representatives from CIGNA, Personal Care, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Health Link will be available to answer questions from individuals who are trying to select among providers before the state open enrollment period ends June 17.

“Many of our constituents are in turmoil because the Quinn administration eliminated longstanding HMO insurance options (Humana and Health Alliance) in downstate Illinois,” Leitch said.

“Only 38 northeastern counties will have HMO alternatives.  Residents in the remaining parts of the state are scrambling to figure out costs and whether their doctors and medical providers will be included under which of the new choices for health insurance.”

While the House and Senate passed a bill which would provide more time for a more orderly, organized, and thoughtful transition, Gov. Quinn told Leitch he will veto the bill.

Administration officials have said the change will save the state $100 million in health insurance savings.  HMO contracts are rebid every ten years.  Humana and Health Alliance bids were rejected earlier this year by the new Office of Procurement under the Ethics Procurement Board, a reform process enacted in the wake of the Blagojevich administration.

Gov. Quinn has blamed the new procurement process and the adjudication of official protests by Humana and Health Alliance as reasons for the delay in more thoroughly communicating with those relying on state insurance.

Legislators held a hearing last month attended by over 300 worried constituents who expressed dismay over the “insensitive” and “incompetent” manner in which the changes have been introduced, Leitch said.

“The cancer patients and their families said they were in enough turmoil without the state adding new worries over whether their doctors and treatment centers would be covered by the new insurance,” Leitch said.

Other legislators sponsoring the Benefit Choice Fair are Representatives Keith Sommer, Mike Unes, Jehan Gordon, Don Moffitt, and Senators David Koehler and Darin LaHood.