Warwick City Council Rejects $1 Million in Budget Savings

Pah! Who needs $1 million?

Before a room packed with apparently health-coverage-minded municipal employees, the Warwick City Council voted 5-4 last night against giving United Health Care the city’s health care contract – even though a switch to United Health from current provider Blue Cross would have saved the city a significant amount of money.

A recent city-commissioned study found the school district and municipality would save a combined $885,000 in the first year of a three-year contract with Blue Cross, as compared to the rate the city has been paying up until this point. But United offered the city even more aggressive pricing, and the study pointed to a $1,807,000 savings that could be realized after a switch.
The study also called attention to questions about the quality and scope of United’s offering, as compared to that of Blue Cross – leading the Warwick Personnel Department to recommend a switch to United, but only for a one-year contract.
Council members voting against United last night said they didn’t believe United’s coverage would be comparable to what Blue Cross already provides.
Voting against a switch to United were council members Helen Taylor, Donna M. Travis, John DelGiudice, Bruce Place, and Raymond E. Gallucci. Voting for the switch were Council President Joseph J. Solomon and members Robert Cushman, Steve Merolla and Charles J. Donovan Jr. {emphasis added}

It’s not worth trying for one year? Really? Not worth $1 million? And concerning that difference in coverage:

“The only area that United has a notable deficiency is in their number of specialists/ancillary providers,” this report adds. Blue Cross has approximately 1,136 primary care physicians compred with United’s 987 — a total of 10 percent fewer doctors.
But a review of claims submitted by Warwick employees found that 96 percent commonly used providers were in both networks, according to Cornerstone. To help ease the transition for the small percentage of patients who would lose network access to their doctors, the report recommends a six-month transition period where the city funds any out-of-network claims at an in-claim rate.

‘Course, I suppose if I was able to vote on what health care plan I wanted for myself, I’d go with the status quo, too….

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13 years ago

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