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Monday, January 30, 2023



Dec. 6, 2001 – Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd has called a Committee of the Whole meeting for 10 a.m. Dec. 13 to gather information on reported problems with the government's new health insurance program.
Liburd made the announcement Thursday after Sen. Carlton Dowe wrote to him on Wednesday saying that the government's insurance coverage in place since Sept. 30 is causing "unacceptable" problems to employees and doctors alike.
Citing "numerous complaints from active employees and retirees that doctors are not accepting the health insurance card issued them to receive their medical, dental and pharmaceutical benefits," Dowe asked Liburd to call a special legislative session to find out what is going on.
Liburd said Thursday that his office, too, has received numerous reports of problems from government employees. He said he has asked representatives of Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. (CIGNA), which provides medical insurance, and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.(MetLife), which supplies dental coverage, to testify at the session. Also invited to appear are members of the Health Insurance Board of the Government Employees Service Commission; Thomas Robinson, chief executive officer of the territory's hospitals; Ira Mills, director of the Office of Management and Budget; and Bernice Turnbull, Finance commissioner.
About 30,000 government employees, retirees and their dependents are covered by the insurance plans.
The Senate approved the new health insurance package for government workers in a special session on Sept. 28 called by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull. The government workers' medical insurance contract in effect at the time, with Blue Cross-Blue Shield, was scheduled to expire at midnight Sept. 30 — and did so. The new contract, signed by the governor on Sept. 30, took effect at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 1.
Dowe in his letter to Liburd reminded the Senate president that at the Sept. 28 special session, "a 'gun' was put to our heads to meet a Sept. 30 deadline to ratify the contracts with the insurance companies."
The contracts had been extremely late in reaching the Senate floor. Dowe reminded Liburd Wednesday that Paulette Rabsatt, chair of the Health Insurance Board, and principals of the two insurance companies had assured the Legislature that all government employees would be covered for all health insurance benefits.
Dowe said he also understands that doctors are experiencing long delays in receiving payment for claims submitted. "On the one hand, we ask doctors to be participating members of the Health Insurance Preferred Provider Organization," he said. "And we do not pay them on a timely basis. This is unconscionable."
Telephone calls to Rabsatt and to Rolda Mason, chief of group health insurance with the Personnel Division, were not returned Thursday afternoon.

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