City Taking 2nd Look At Changing Insurance Carriers After Retirees Express Concerns

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

City officials said Tuesday night they will take a second look at details of a switch to a new insurance provider after retirees raised concerns about United Healthcare.

Police retiree Vince Dean said retirees have been getting "inconsistent" answers on coverage provided by United Healthcare.

He said they were told that CHI Memorial's Heart Institute as well as Contin-U Care are among those not accepting United Healthcare. He said retirees were also advised that the pharmacy at the city wellness center would not accept United Healthcare.

City official Tina Camba said proposals from the current provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and United Healthcare were the same. She said there will be no reduction in benefits and providers will remain the same.

However, she said in light of all the concerns expressed, that she will reaffirm that United Healthcare can provide the same coverage as the current carrier.

Stacy Richardson, the mayor's chief of staff, also said that will be double-checked. She said a report will be given to the council at its 1:30 p.m. meeting next Tuesday.

Mr. Dean, a former state legislator who is now Criminal Court Clerk, asked the council not to confirm the contract until the coverage issue is resolved.

He said retirees got low pay, but were always promised they would get monthly pension checks, annual cost of living raises, and that their coverage would be the same as all other city employees.

Mr. Dean said the annual cost of living raises went away earlier. He said retirees do not want to lose access to any of their healthcare providers or their pharmacy benefits.

Officials said the contract with United Healthcare is due to go into effect Jan. 1, but has not yet been signed.

However, some employees have already begun enrolling with the firm.

Ms. Camba said United Healthcare has some offerings that are better than the current provider, and many employees are happy about that.

She said United Healthcare was the choice of a committee that studied both insurors.

Councilwoman Carol Berz said she has been hearing the same concerns about gaps in the network of United Healthcare. She said, "I'm really angry about this. I think we have received fraudulent information - misleading information."

She added, "I don't want to be stuck with a contract that is detrimental to some of our employees."

Noting that Mr. Dean said retirees only learned of the change at a late hour, Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod said the council often is asked to make hurried votes without having the proper information.

She said, "This keeps coming back up that we are not getting the information we need and we are rushed to a vote."  

 



Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADAMS, SHELIA KAY  9607 BARBEE ROAD LOT 64 SODDY DAISY, 37379  Age at Arrest: 52 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County CONTEMPT OF COURT (NON SUPPORT) --- ARMSTRONG, JOHN MELVILLE  119 FLEETWOOD DR LOOKOUT MTN, 37350  Age at Arrest: 53 years old Arresting Agency: Lookout Mountain ... (click for more)

City Officials Believe Fish Kill In Small Creek In Hixson Is Related To Weather Changes

City officials said they believe a fish kill in a Hixson Creek is related to weather changes. Officials said, "The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is presently investigating the cause of the large numbers of dead fish seen in a wet weather conveyance that runs into the Tennessee River. At this point, officials believe that the cause is related to weather   occurrences earlier ... (click for more)

Reflections On Billy Graham

Sandra and I are saddened this morning after learning of the death of Billy Graham. We rejoice today, because Mr. Graham once said "It will be reported that Billy Graham has died, but that won't be the truth. He said the truth is that he had only moved to a new location".  I remember when we named 15th Street as Billy Graham Avenue, his daughter Gigi came for the dedication ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We’re The Angriest State

WalletHub, a financial-health website that has found it can draw a lot of attention by ranking the states on which is “fattest,” smartest, and so forth, has just announced its “sinful” rating and Tennessee churches should be ashamed of the job they are doing in making the Volunteer State a haven for puritans. Then again, our tourism may soon explode … remember Sodom & Gomorrah. ... (click for more)

Young Mocs Fall To Mercer 65-56

 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga freshmen Brooke Burns and Mya Long combined for 36 points in the Mocs’ 65-56 loss to Mercer in Southern Conference women’s basketball action at Hawkins Arena Thursday night. Chattanooga falls to 16-11 on the year and 7-6 in league play. The Bears, ranked 25th in the USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll, are now 26-2 and 13-0 in SoCon action. ... (click for more)

Covenant Softball Wins Two In Home Opener

The Covenant softball team finally played its home opener and outlasted both the weather and visiting Judson to earn a doubleheader sweep on Thursday afternoon. The Lady Scots won 4-2 in game one, which was delayed over an hour due to heavy rain, and then recorded a 9-1 victory in the finale. Covenant (6-8) had played its first 12 games on the road or in neutral site locations. ... (click for more)