Medical insurance giant Empire pulls out of NYC’s controversial Medicare plan for retired city employees


A significant insurance company has pulled out of a deal to manage Recent York City’s latest Medicare Advantage Plan — the newest setback in town’s effort to shift roughly 250,000 retired municipal employees onto the controversial health coverage.

Empire BlueCross BlueShield, considered one of the country’s largest medical health insurance providers, notified Mayor Adams’ office that it’s not going to assist roll out the Advantage plan after town failed to supply a start date and profit specifics as requested by July 15, the corporate said in a press release Tuesday.

“This timeline was necessary because delaying any further wouldn’t give retirees enough time to completely understand their options, advantages, and coverage upfront of open enrollment,” the statement read. “Given the extent of uncertainty at the moment, we informed town that (Empire) shouldn’t be capable of participate.”

In light of Empire’s withdrawal, City Hall spokesman Jonah Allon said Adams’ administration is on the hunt for a latest provider.

“We remain committed to moving forward with this system and are exploring alternative options,” Allon said.

Empire’s exit is the newest hiccup within the Adams administration’s push to implement the Advantage plan, which is speculated to save town a whole lot of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars annually due to the partnership with a personal insurance provider.

First proposed by former Mayor Bill de Blasio, the plan was speculated to go into effect earlier this yr with Adams’ blessing.

But Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lyle Frank blocked the plan, ruling in March that it was illegal since it contained a provision that will slap a $191 monthly penalty on retirees who opted to maintain their current traditional Medicare as a substitute of getting routinely enrolled within the Advantage plan without spending a dime.

The Adams administration is appealing Frank’s ruling. City Hall confirmed Tuesday that the appeal is ongoing.

Frank’s decision was the results of a lawsuit filed by the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees, which has argued the Advantage plan would water down health coverage for town’s tens of hundreds of retirees, including by instituting complicated pre-authorization requirements for certain medical procedures and coverings.

Marianne Pizzitola, the organization’s president, said she has for months asked City Hall for a chance to debate the matter with Adams — and that she finally got a gathering scheduled with the mayor for this past Monday.

Nevertheless, late Sunday, Pizzitola said she got word from City Hall that Adams could not meet after checking out town stays in litigation together with her group.

Pizzitola, a retired FDNY EMT, said she wishes Adams would take time to listen to from her and the hundreds of other former city employees who’ve pleaded with him to scrap the Advantage plan and allow them to stay on traditional Medicare.

“I actually wish that he would just listen,” she said.


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