Many Arkansas School Employees Leave QualChoice

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, May. 7, 2007 12:00 am  

Did you know that nearly all of the 8,000 Arkansas school employees who were members of QualChoice of Arkansas recently fled to Health Advantage? We don't have all the details yet, but here's what we know: QualChoice, which is located in Little Rock, was the third-party administrator of the self-insurance plan serving public school employees.
Sometime this year, QualChoice had a "tremendous" increase in the cost of its insurance.
The employee benefits division for the state school employees then announced it was going to have to pass along a midyear rate increase to its members.
"And when that occurred, we gave our membership the opportunity to go with the other vendor, Health Advantage, if they so chose," said Sharon Dickerson, executive director of the employee benefits division. "And many of them decided to go."
In fact, only 125 members stayed with QualChoice after the May 1 transfer, she said.
Health Advantage is officially HMO Partners Inc., the joint venture of Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield and Baptist Health.
Dickerson was unable to get her hands on the exact amount the QualChoice rates went up by the time our deadline rolled around.
QualChoice also will lose the administrative fee the benefits division paid it. Dickerson didn't release that figure by our deadline, either.
Officials at QualChoice were unavailable for comment.



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