Glitch leaves thousands of state workers, retirees scrambling for insurance
Posted August 11, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — Thousands of new state employees, public school teachers and retirees have been turned away from doctor's appointments and denied prescription refills in recent weeks because of a computer problem in the State Health Plan.
Schorr Johnson, a spokesman for the State Treasurer's Office, which oversees the health plan for more than 680,000 teachers, state employees, retirees and their dependents, said Tuesday that the glitch occurred when the state shifted to Aon Hewitt in June to handle enrollment services and eligibility.
"There have been issues in transmitting eligibility and enrollment files to the Plan’s other vendor partners," Johnson said in an email to WRAL News.
The gap leaves Kim Halden and others on the health plan with coverage listed as "inactive," even though it's not, he said. The issue affects people who have recently joined the plan, retired or made a change in their coverage.
Halden, who retired after 41 years of teaching, scrambled for more than a week to obtain insulin for her diabetes and to see a doctor about a broken toe. Her issue was finally resolved Monday after calls to the State Health Plan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, which handles claims under the plan, and several lawmakers.
"I feel for all the teachers who think they have coverage, and they're going to find out they don't," she said. "It won't just affect them. It will affect members of their family."
Ron Still, whose wife retired as a teacher this summer, said he got the runaround when he tried to figure out what was going on.
"I started asking questions, and when they weren't being answered, I started getting angry," Still said. "I don't know who to blame."
Aon Hewitt spokeswoman MacKenzie Lucas called the problem "an isolated issue impacting a small number of individuals" and said the company is working to resolve it.
Johnson said his office is trying to set up a separate line solely for people whose coverage has been affected by the computer glitch, but he couldn't say when that would be operated or when the underlying problem would be fixed. In the meantime, he suggested that State Health Plan members call customer service toll-free at 855-859-0966 if they encounter any difficulties or have questions about their coverage.