Beebe retiree mulls insurance woes

September 17, 2013

In Dennis Forney’s Aug. 30 Barefootin’ column, both Mr. Forney and Beebe Medical Center CEO Jeffrey Fried focused on their businesses.

Consider the same topic from the experience of a retired member of the Beebe executive staff.

The decision to terminate the health care benefits for all Beebe retirees, effective Sept. 1, 2012, is one year old this month. Similar to a program being considered by IBM for their retirees, Beebe designates $166.66/employee/month to pay for the employee to spend the money to choose a supplemental insurance, drug plan, dental plan. My experience has been a disaster!

Beebe selected the company, Extend Health, to implement the program. Extend Health lost my registration, held over $1,000 donated by Beebe in my name, and could not figure out the lack of a connection with my supplemental insurance, Humana (my own personal phone call to Humana discovered the problem).

As of today, Extend Health still has $264.68 of money donated in my name. To put this into perspective, the $166.66 does not pay my Humana supplemental premium and Coventry drug plan, so my balance from Beebe should have been zero from the beginning of the program last September!

IBM stated they were planning to terminate their retirees due to the upcoming anticipated cost of Obamacare. What about Beebe? Was it the $2 million expenditure for retiree health insurance stated by Beebe VP Katie Halen or was it the “yet to be determined” cost of the Bradley lawsuit that led HR Katie Halen to implement a rushed, poorly planned program and, as I later learned, a poorly written contract with Extend Health for Beebe retirees? Who is in charge here, Mr. Fried, where is the accountability?

Mr. Forney began this column citing insurance company increases of 31 percent to the Cape Gazette. My personal insurance policy increase for a long-term care policy was 81 percent. The increase from Humana supplemental policy increase, effective Sept. 1, 2013 is 9 percent while the drug plan, Coventry, increased 5 percent back in the spring. Obamacare-influenced increases in premium costs and increases in multiple taxes to cover his signature program are just beginning!

Mr. Fried finds Obamacare implementation “exciting.” Perhaps his six-figure salary permits his “exciting” feeling, but Beebe retirees on a fixed income with rising taxes, taxes, taxes, constantly rising insurance premiums and future Obamacare death panels have no positive feelings!

Nationally, the federal government cannot even register our wounded soldiers/servicemen/women for benefits. Are they still two years behind in registrations now or have they progressed to a one and one-half year backlog?

Congressional staff are asking to be exempt from Obamacare as well as some of the unions. How about the members of U.S. Congress - All exempt…..

Isn’t there a message here?

Mary Spicer

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