Downstate Legislators Request to Extend State Health Plan Open Enrollment Period

The following letter was sent to Office of Management and Budget officials on May 12.

Ann Visalli, Director
Office of Management and Budget
122 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. South
Dover, DE 19901

Dear Ms. Visalli,

As you are aware, contract negotiations between Bayhealth Medical Center and the state’s largest health insurance provider, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware, are at a standstill. If these parties fail to reach agreement by next week, thousands of Delaware state employees, retirees and their families who rely on Bayhealth, or who utilize the services of Bayhealth hospitals in Dover and Milford, will lose access to care if they are insured by Highmark.

This ongoing dispute now overlaps with the state’s health plan open enrollment period, which began May 9 and is scheduled to close May 26. As a result, state employees, retirees and their families in Kent and Sussex counties face a serious dilemma regarding their health coverage options. Before they are compelled to enroll, they need to know if Highmark is a viable choice in their geographic area or if they should select a plan from the state’s other insurance provider, Aetna.

In order to allow these workers and retirees to make the best health care choices for them and their dependents, we are requesting that you exercise your authority to extend the open enrollment period. We believe it would be prudent to give employees and retirees at least two additional weeks to make their benefit selections.

If this proposal would entail any fiscal ramifications or other unintended consequences, please advise us regarding any such issues.
Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

Sean M. Lynn

W. Charles "Trey" Paradee

William J. Carson

Andria L. Bennett

Peter C. Schwartzkopf

Valerie Longhurst,

Jeffrey N. Spiegelman

Ruth Briggs King

William R. Outten

Harvey R. Kenton

Bruce C. Ennis

Daniel B. Short

F. Gary Simpson

Colin R.J. Bonini

Brian Bushweller

David G. Lawson