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Rockland: Ed Day backs off insurance switch for retirees

By newadmin / Published on Tuesday, 13 Feb 2018 23:45 PM / No Comments / 8 views


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Rockland County officials are sparring over a plan to switch insurance carries for its retirees.
Wochit

Amid reports that Aetna was under investigation for how it makes its coverage decisions, Rockland County Executive Ed Day put the brakes on his controversial proposal to switch to coverage with the carrier for thousands of retired county employees and their spouses.

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Day said his administration was “reevaluating” and no changes would be made “for the foreseeable future.”

EARLIER COVERAGE: Day, legislators battle over insurance 

Published reports surfaced last weekend that a former medical director admitted under oath he never reviewed patient records when determining whether to approve or deny care. Authorities in California now are looking into how widespread the practice is within the nation’s third-largest insurance company.

“It is simply unacceptable to put county retirees at risk,” Day said at a press conference Tuesday. “Aetna Insurance needs to provide clarity to their reported business practices. I have no doubt that this is the right thing to do, as these practices cut to the core of care and must be addressed. We will protect the health of our retirees no matter what.”

The county executive also said, “I look forward to Aetna’s explanation of their clinical review process and any clarity they can provide on this subject.”

Even before the news about the Aetna probe hit, the proposed changeover had stirred a robust opposition.

Retirees said they lacked information about how the switch would affect them, while Rockland County legislators voted unanimously to declare that they and not the county executive controlled such potential changes.

 

Legislator Alden Wolfe, D-Montebello, said pausing any changeover to Aetna “for the foreseeable future” didn’t go far enough.

“The decision announced by the administration today reads like damage control,” Wolfe said. “It gives a convenient reason to back away from something politically unpopular and disastrous for our retirees.”

The Legislature invited representatives of Aetna and the Segal Company, the company hired by the Day administration to write the request for proposals to solicit a new health insurance provider. They were to appear Tuesday night before the Budget & Finance Committee.

“We still have many questions and we will continue to pursue the information that is critical to allowing a proper review of this entire process,” Legislature Chairman Toney Earl said. “We have some breathing room, but not much, when you consider all the details that must be thoroughly researched.”

When Day originally touted dropping coverage through the New York State Health Insurance Program and going with Aetna, he said it would provide equal, if not better service for retirees.

It would also trim costs, he said. By year’s end, the county anticipated saving up to $600,000 and close to $1 million in 2019. Currently, Rockland pays about $31 million for coverage.

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