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Governor takes another hit on
downstate jobs    
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[APRIL 30, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- State Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield, calls the governor's nonrenewal of three health insurance plan for state employees "another hit to the base of state government." Health Alliance, OSF Health Plans and Unicare were dropped as providers by the state.

"First the governor moves the focus of state government from Springfield -- the state capital -- to Chicago and relocates Springfield-based jobs to Chicago; and now he is taking away quality health insurance from a downstate provider for the state employees who remain," said Bomke.

According to Central Management Services, the state is switching from fully insured managed care plans to self-insured managed care plans. This means the state will assume the risk and liability of providing health insurance for its employees but will use the managed care plans network.

"The state is taking a huge risk with this venture," said Bomke. "It could save us money, but it could also cost us more to provide health insurance for those same employees if they switch to the indemnity plan. Changing doctors is a big decision, and with no other option before them, many of these employees will opt for the state's indemnity plan, which costs the state more to provide. The governor is forcing my constituents to opt for a more expensive health insurance plan or switch doctors."

Health insurance is one of the areas the state has looked into as a possible cost-saving measure, particularly by moving more state employees off the indemnity plan and into managed care plans, such as Health Alliance. Because Health Alliance was the sole managed care insurer for Springfield Clinic, the area's largest health provider, state employees may have no other option but to move to the indemnity plan.

 

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"This is contrary to the governor's goals and a side effect that may have been overlooked when Health Alliance's contract was not renewed," Bomke said. "From the calls I have received in my office, state employees are happy with the service they have received from Health Alliance and want to see the contract renewed."

Health Alliance and OSF Health Plans officially filed a protest to the state's decision Monday.

Bomke has contacted the governor's office and Springfield Clinic and continues to monitor the extent to which this will affect state employees. Approximately 18,000 area residents use Springfield Clinic doctors, and nearly 27,800 area residents currently have Health Alliance for their insurance.

Bomke urges state and university employees affected by the decision to contact Central Management Services, (217) 782-2121, and the governor's office, (312) 814-2121, to voice their objections.

[News release]

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