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Delaware committee advises against Medicare Advantage for state retirees

A state committee is recommending Delaware cast aside any plans to provide retired state employees health benefits through Medicare Advantage. 

The state's Retiree Healthcare Benefits Advisory Subcommittee submitted a slate of recommendations to Delaware Gov. John Carney Dec. 31. Among the recommendations: that the state "neither request nor consider" a Medicare Advantage plan in its request for proposals for administrators of the state's benefit plan for 25,000 retired employees. 

The subcommittee was formed in the wake of public backlash to Delaware's plan to implement a Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware Medicare Advantage plan to manage state retiree benefits. In October 2022, a judge sided with RiseDelaware, a group of retirees who sued to block the switch. The group argued the state did not account for public input in its decision-making. 

Delaware has extended its current Medigap plan for state retirees through the end of 2024. 

The subcommittee, made up of legislative officials and retirees, was tasked with taking public comment on the state's retiree health benefits and delivering recommendations to the state. In its report to the governor, the committee said retirees raised concerns about prior authorizations, network limitations and possible cost-sharing in Medicare Advantage.  

In 10 hours of public comment, no current or retired state employees spoke in favor of Medicare Advantage, the committee noted in its report. 

Retirees in other states have pushed back against proposed Medicare Advantage plans. In August, a New York City judge blocked the city from implementing a $15 billion contract with Aetna to manage a Medicare Advantage plan for 250,000 retired city employees. 

Reporter: Rylee Wilson



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