Nassau County government employees upset ahead of Aetna contract renewal

Nassau County government employees upset ahead of Aetna contract renewal

Sometimes it seems like people go into their insurance plans knowing that it’s not exactly working for them. Sometimes these people are an entire county staff. The Nassau County Board of Commissioners recently agreed to a flat revival with Aetna for county worker health care coverage, although it did it with reservations.

“Their customer service…it’s not just up to Aetna, it’s up to most of your insurance companies – sometimes it’s very difficult to reach people whenever you need them,” the commissioner said. Klynt Farmer said. “Recently, I heard about several of our employees who needed things like, say, an MRI. When you go to the hospital on a Monday and ask for approval for the MRI, you can’t wait until Friday to get approval.”

The county offers its workers four different health plans through Aetna — the basic plan, two buyout plans, and a high-deductible health plan with a health savings account that also qualifies as a basic plan. The Bailey Group and the County Insurance Committee met in March and worked out details, including a new health care reimbursement account for all non-union active workers.

“I would just like to state publicly that we need our (human resources) staff to communicate to Aetna that their customer service is poor, in my opinion,” Farmer said. “As much as we pay, we deserve better customer service, and our employees deserve better customer service.

Deputy departmental director Marshal Eyerman said staff can contact The Bailey Group and Aetna to begin resolving these issues.

“So if we, I think it’s next year, we’ll come out for (a request for proposals) to look at our new program,” Eyerman said. “We can certainly include that in our selection elements as customer service and we think of these employees.”

He noted that historically, the county sees double-digit cost increases with Aetna year over year.

“Your team was able to negotiate a 0% cost increase, which also represents a savings that also benefited the county,” Eyerman said.

Commissioners unanimously approved the negotiated agreement.


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