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."  

 


Corker Doubtful On Latest Saudi Version Of Death Of Writer At Consulate In Istanbul

Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Friday expressed doubt about Saudi Arabia’s claims regarding the death of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post. He said, “The story the Saudis have told about Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance continues to change with each passing day, so we should not assume their ... (click for more)

Dalton Police Department Investigating Car Break-in

The Dalton Police Department is asking for the public’s help to identify a woman who was recorded by store surveillance using a credit card stolen from a car parked in a gym parking lot last week. The suspect used the stolen card to rack up more than $500 in fraudulent charges. The theft happened on Oct. 12,  at the Planet Fitness gym parking lot on Walnut Avenue. When ... (click for more)

Drink Up, Chattanooga

I attended the meeting to discuss the placement of the sewage treatment plant at the Cambridge Center in Ooltewah today. My problem with the meeting (aka) dog and pony show, is that the meeting started out with the agenda of the Ooltewah Community Council.  After living in this area for 45+ years I have never heard of this group.  I would like for someone to answer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

The reviews are good after we initiated “The Funny Video of the Week” but today let me take the liberty of sharing an oldie that I consider the funniest of all time. Please be aware the principals are speaking Polish, which you also need to know makes not a bit of difference. I have watched “The Polish Spoon Trick” at least 50 times because every time I watch the video it makes ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Rally Tops CCS For Region Title

The Notre Dame football team headed to Chattanooga Christian’s David Stanton Field for their final regular-season game against the Chargers Friday night with two really strong incentives. If they won, the Fighting Irish would win its region title for the second straight year and in doing so, would clinch home-field advantage throughout the post-season playoffs. They accomplished ... (click for more)

OoltewahThumps Cleveland, 34-20, To Near Region 2-6A No. 2 Playoff Seed

Maybe it’s time to tag the Ooltewah Owls as the “Comeback Kids.” The Owls rallied from a 21-7 halftime deficit to clip Bradley Central, 28-27, on Kyrell Sanford’s 16-yard pass to Fisher Perry in the third quarter and turned the outcome over to the team’s defense. Three weeks ago, Ooltewah scored on a 55-yard pass from Sanford to T.J. Taylor with 13 seconds remaining to ... (click for more)