The administrator managing the City of Montgomery's supplemental health insurance program for retired Medicare-eligible employees is changing next year.
AMWINS Group Benefits, LLC, will assume administrative responsibility beginning in January 2024. Blue Cross Blue Shield was the previous administrator of the program, according to WSFA.
According to the City of Montgomery, there will be no disruption in coverage for any retired city employee covered by the city's existing health plan. The new plans are fully guaranteed regardless of current or future medical conditions. All retired Medicare-eligible employees who receive coverage from the city, regardless of their age, will transition to the new program.
"AMWINS is a major player in administering Group Medicare Supplemental benefits," Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed said in a statement. "It is important that the city continually evaluates how it provides services. We owe it to taxpayers to make certain that we are spending their dollars wisely. After evaluating the Medicare Supplemental Benefits marketplace, AMWINS is best positioned to benefit the city and our retiree community. Not only will the switch to AMWINS save the city money, but it will also lower premiums for most retirees."
According to the City of Montgomery, the program management restructuring will reduce the city's overhead fees and stabilize costs to administer coverage to the city's retirees. AMWINS covers medical claims through United American Insurance, dental claims through Ameritas, and prescription claims through Express Scripts.
Insurance plans are being altered for some 930 retired city employees over the age of 65, according to WSFA.
Montgomery City Councilman Glenn Pruitt told WSFA he'd received many phone calls from frustrated retirees about the change.
"These people worked in the '60s and '70s for $400 and $500 a week. We have left them out of our budgets for many, many years," Pruitt told the outlet. "And wow the one thing that they worked at the city of Montgomery for, we want to change them. That's not fair. These people have worked. They have had it. They have done their duty, and now we're changing it on them."
In a statement on Wednesday, Adam Muhlendorf, a Reed spokesman, said, "The primary health insurance provider for the City of Montgomery retirees over 65 is Medicare."
"That is not changing. What's changing in January is the third-party administrator for health claims Medicare does not cover. The administrator works behind the scenes to ensure the additional costs are paid with as little out-of-pocket expenses to the retirees as possible," Muhlendorf said. "The city is making this change because AMWINS offered similar benefits through United American Insurance at a lower monthly cost to retirees. If the city stays with its current supplemental health insurance administrator and without adding new revenue, the premiums for retired city employees would continue to increase, which the city is trying to avoid."
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