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Health Alliance loses state contract for retiree healthcare

Latest: 10:08 pm URBANA -- Thousands of people in Central Illinois will soon be looking for new doctors.
Latest: 10:08 pm
URBANA -- Thousands of people in Central Illinois will soon be looking for new doctors. Health Alliance lost its bid to provide Medicare insurance to state retirees. That means they'll no longer be able to use doctors at Carle Hospital.

They'll have until January 1, 2014, to find new Medicare coverage and new doctors. No word why Health Alliance lost the bid, but the state says the change has nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act.
Update: 7:37 pm
URBANA -- More than 6,000 retired state workers will no longer be able to use doctors at Carle Hospital. Health Alliance lost the state bid to provide thousands with medicare insurance. The change will take effect January 1, 2014.

Urbana resident Mason Minnis is personally affected by the change.

He said, "We got a notice of what we have to select from, from the Department of Central Management Sservices in Illinois, and none of them are Health Alliance."

That's because Health Alliance lost the state bid for retiree health coverage. Minnis is one of 15,000 affected statewide, and more than 6,000 who can no longer see their doctors at Carle.

"I'm under three different doctors' care. My family doctor is under Health Alliance from Carle and a cardiologist who has me under his care."

Minnis, a retired teacher, says Health Alliance is all he knows.

"I started in the middle school in 1973, went over to the high school in 1987, and finished at the high school in 2006. I was under Health Alliance the whole time."

On January 1, 2014, he will have a new doctor, new hospital, and a new provider. Health Alliance spokesperson, Jane Hayes, says they are very disappointed.

"We're concerned about the members that we currently cover under the retiree plans. For seniors, for the older, more vulnerable population, changing doctors is a very big deal."

It's unclear where all these patients will go for care. With today's bids, it's too early to tell if other area hospitals will be able to handle the increased patient load.

This is not the first time the state has passed on Health Alliance. In 2011, the company was not selected to provide health insurance to state workers and retirees. The decision was later reversed due to legislative action and the contract was extended.
Update: 5:01 pm
URBANA -- Health Alliance has lost its bid to provide Medicare insurance to state retirees. Now, some 6,000 people will be looking for new doctors.

It means they're no longer able to use doctors at Carle Hospital. They must find new Medicare coverage and new doctors by January 1, 2014.

Health Alliance submitted its bid in July. It's the largest healthcare provider in the area. Company leaders are not happy with the decision.

Retired state workers have four options for finding Medicare coverage; Aetna, Humana Health, Humana Benefit Plan and United Healthcare.

The state says the change has nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act. It's unclear why Health Alliance lost the contract.
Original: 11:15 am
ILLINOIS -- State officials from Central Management Services announced contracts awarded to vendors for Medicare Advantage Plus. Health Alliance lost its bid for the state retirement contract.

Instead, Aetna Life Insurance, Humana Health and Humana Benefit will all receive contracts to provide a Medicare Advantage Plan-HMO. United Healthcare will receive a contract to provide a Medicare Advantage-PPO.

More details are expected to be released later this week.
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