State to further examine insurance contract

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 5, 2004

The Ohio Department of Administrative Services is taking a new stance regarding the state's previous plans to switch insurance providers at the beginning of the fiscal year in July.

DAS recently pulled the UnitedHealthcare contract from the Ohio Controlling Board agenda for more evaluation and to request more information from the company.

Executives from the state's current medical insurance provider of 17 years, Medical Mutual of Ohio, brought certain issues into the open about United - a Minnesota-based company that won the state's bid several weeks ago.

Email newsletter signup

Mutual officials maintained that United's proposal would leave state employees and their families with 7,200 less doctors, 22 less hospitals and eight counties without hospitals.

Officials at Mutual also said insurance claims for state workers would be processed in Missouri and customer service would take place in New Mexico.

"Because serious questions have been raised about UnitedHealthcare's response to the RFP (Request For Proposal) to administer the state's Ohio Med health care plan, it is impossible for us to make a fair decision on this matter in time to have a new contract in place by July 1," Scott Johnson, DAS director, wrote in a statement issued April 2.

"Therefore, I believe it is in the best interest of the State of Ohio to reject all proposals and restart the bidding process to ensure that the bidding results are fair and accurate," Johnson said.

DAS Deputy Director Charlotte Hull said the department is working to extend the contract with Medical Mutual.

UnitedHealthcare of Ohio's CEO Tom Brady disagreed with Mutual's claims and said in previous statements that the company submitted their information to DAS and also complied with additional requests for more information.

The Chief Financial Officer of MMO, Sue Tyler, said the company is pleased by the state's decision.

"Taking the extra time to ensure the correct bidder is selected is the right thing to do," she said. "We are confident that we offer the best combination of discounts, provider access and customer service for the state and its employees."

Additionally, Tyler ensured the employees covered by Ohio Med insurance will continue uninterrupted as the Request For Proposal (bidding) process is restarted.

Lawrence County is home to 103 state employees, including those in agencies such as the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (state unemployment office) and Dean State Forest.

More than 42,000 people people are employed by the state and a total of 106,000 with the inclusion of family members.