Unicare Health Insurance Update

One of our members, who is directly affected by Unicare’s decision to leave  Illinois, has provided me with  the following update on the whole Unicare Health Insurance issue:

     Today I spoke with a representative from Cook County Risk management regarding Unicare discontinuing services in Illinois and the arrangement with BlueCross/BlueShield(BC/BS) to provide replacement coverage.  While NWMemorial Hospital, which accepted UnicareHMO, had previously not accepted BC/BS HMO, they have purportedly agreed to accept Cook County employees that were previously serviced by Unicare HMO, under BC/BS HMO.
     The representative was unable to provide any written documentation of this agreement but said it was reached approximately one week ago.  She added that soon to be former Unicare HMO members should be receiving their BC/BS HMO cards some time in late December. 

If anyone has heard, or learns anything different regarding NWMemorial Hospital’s position regarding the Unicare ‘transition’ to BC/BS HMO please post your response under this posting.

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  1. Posted November 20, 2009 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I just called Northwestern, because all my doctors are out of there, and she said, no, this is not true, they will not be accepting BCBC HMO instead of Unicare HMO, and the haven’t accepted it in years.
    I hope at least we can switch to the PPO option, which my doctors do accept
    (at greater cost to me). Strange that Unicare leaves after open enrollment is over.

  2. Posted November 20, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Has Blue Cross/Blue Shield taken over Unicare? Or is Unicare just leaving the state?

  3. Stephanie S
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Unicare is leaving both Illinois and Texas. According to their letter to me, as a member,
    and according to the risk management site, they advised everyone on October 29th, prior to popen
    enrollment closing. However, I had already continued my coverage with them and was not notified
    prior to the end of enrollment.
    I can’t imagine Northwestern Hospital just accepting HMO patients unless they were part of the
    agreement as well. I don’t see how an agreement between Unicare and BCBS of IL has anything
    to do with the Hospital’s decision on who to accept. BCBS should have to reach a new agreemt
    with NWMH in order for Unicare’s patients to continue in an HMO plan and still have their docs
    at Northwestern.
    Are county workers such a high risk and so expensive that no other insurance company would
    like our business?

  4. Kulmeet Galhotra
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    As I learned today at contract negotiations, the City has had a similar issue and they are contracting with BCBS to set up a new BCBS that will mimic the Unicare policy that has been pulled unilaterally by Unicare. I imagine that is what the County will do as well. That is as much as we know at this point, but you should know that you are not alone, because in 2008, there were 3,496 county employees covered by Unicare. Incidentally, 2008 saw a change in enrollment of -23% for Unicare due mainly to the Rush Health System exiting the Unicare network.

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