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."  

 


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)

Old Fort, Tn., Man Convicted Of Child Molestation In Murray County

Brian Jones, 47, of 155 Hoyt Browser Road, Old Ford, Tn.,  was convicted late  Thursday  by a Murray County Jury on three counts of child molestation and one count of sexual battery against a minor.    The case involved abuse against two children and the offenses were indicted separately in two different indictments by the Murray County Grand Jury ... (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: Lee In A Landslide

The first time I met Bill Lee, the guy who is triggering a huge turnout of Tennessee voters across the state, I instantly liked him, admired him, and must have told a dozen friends that day we have the most exciting guy going to the Governor’s Mansion we’ve ever had. The best reason is because Bill Lee is real. His opponent, Karl Dean, is a Democrat and a longtime politician. Go ... (click for more)

Powerful Loretto Smacks Sale Creek, 3-1, For Class 1A State Volleyball Title

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Loretto ruined what could have been a nice little celebration for Sale Creek on Thursday at the TSSAA Class 1A state volleyball tournament at Middle Tennessee State University. Sale Creek (40-8), appearing in their fourth tournament and the title match for the first time, were victimized by a constant offensive attack and the potent Lady Mustangs rolled ... (click for more)

Area Soccer Teams Prep For Sectional, Quarterfinal Games

In Division I soccer, five area teams will play state sectionals games on Saturday.    Polk County and Signal Mountain will host games in Class A. In Class AA, McMinn Central will host a game and East Hamilton will be on the road.  In Class AAA, Soddy-Daisy is on the road.  Sectional winners will advance to the Division I state quarterfinals to be played ... (click for more)