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."  

 



Copies Of Remaining Chattanooga Photo Books Available At Zarzour's Restaurant; By Mail

Remaining copies of the Chattanooga Photo books are available at Zarzours Restaurant on Rossville Avenue off Main Street. It is near Fire Hall #1. They include the Remarkable Stokes Collection, Railroads In and Around Chattanooga, and Paul Hiener's Historic Chattanooga.  All were published by Chattanoogan.com.  and printed by College Press at Collegedale. The ... (click for more)

Police Blotter: Man Digs Up Old Gun In His Yard On Wheeler Avenue

A Wheeler Avenue resident told police that he was doing yard work and discovered a handgun buried in his yard. He said the firearm did not belong to him. Police could determine that the firearm was a firestorm 1911 government 45 AUTO but were unable to read the serial number do to the rusty condition of the gun. Police submitted it to the Chattanooga Property Division for safe keeping. ... (click for more)

All I Want For Christmas Are Digitized Newspapers For 2018 - And Response

With recent news of the Public Library investing in their own StoryCorps-ish effort with the Chattanooga Memory Project, it got me thinking about digitizing local newspapers again.   It's been two and a half years since the Chattanooga Public Library committed to sending out a request for proposals to digitize the local newspapers they have on microfilm. Back in ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Last You’d Suspect

Back when Bill Lenz launched Christ the Rock Community Church, the idea was to spread the gospel in Menasha, Wisc. but Bill and his brother Bob soon found they were dealing with people in trauma situations – drug and alcohol addiction, poverty, the homeless, and suicide prevention. As the church grew, they started an offshoot ministry called “Solid Rock” that deals with suicide ... (click for more)

Vols' Pruitt Is A "Ball Coach" Who Won't Forget HIs Roots

KNOXVILLE -- He is still the guy that taught them how to play kickball and officiated their dodgeball games. He's still the guy that wore a Fort Payne Wildcats football T-shirt to class every day and carried them over his shoulder across the playground if they got hurt. Before he rose to prominence as a college football coach, Jeremy Pruitt was a PE teacher at Wills Valley ... (click for more)

UTC Women Fall To Virginia Tech 64-44

The Chattanooga Lady Mocs started off the current basketball season with three straight losses, including a 60-30 whipping at Green Bay on November 11. Things had gotten better since that time as the Lady Mocs came into Sunday afternoon’s home game with Virginia Tech on a six-game winning streak, but the train jumped off the track, the local girls had one of their poorest performances ... (click for more)