Nassau County gov’t workers displeased ahead of Aetna contract renewal

health insurance concept - stethoscope over the money
Commissioners unanimously approved the negotiated deal.

Sometimes it seems like people go into their insurance plans knowing that it doesn’t exactly work for them. Sometimes those people are a whole county workforce. The Nassau County Board of Commissioners recently agreed to a flat renewal with Aetna for county workers’ health care coverage, although it did so with reservations.

“Their customer service … it doesn’t just fall under Aetna, it falls under most of your insurance carriers — it’s very difficult at times to get ahold of people whenever you need them,” Commissioner Klynt Farmer said. “As of recent, I’ve heard of several of our employees that needed things like, say, and MRI. When you go to the hospital on a Monday, and you ask for approval for the MRI, you can’t wait until Friday to get an approval.”

The county offers its workers four different health plans through Aetna — the base plan, two buy-up plans and a high-deductible health plan with a health savings account that’s also considered a base plan. The Bailey Group and the county’s Insurance Committee met in March and knocked out specifics, including a new health reimbursement arrangement account for all active non-union workers.

“I’d just like to go on the record as saying that we need our (human resources) staff to communicate to Aetna that their customer service is subpar, in my opinion,” Farmer said. “As much money as we pay, we deserve better customer service, and our people deserve better customer service.”

Assistant County Manager Marshall Eyerman said staff can reach out to The Bailey Group and Aetna to start working through these issues.

“Then as we, I think it’s next year, we’ll be going out for (a request for proposals) to look at our new program,” Eyerman said. “We can definitely include that as part of our items for selection as customer service and that we are thinking of those employees.”  

He noted historically the county sees double-digit increases in the costs with Aetna from year to year.

“Your team was able to negotiate a 0% cost increase, so that is a savings that came through the county as well,” Eyerman said. 

Commissioners unanimously approved the negotiated deal.

Wes Wolfe

Wes Wolfe is a reporter who's worked for newspapers across the South, winning press association awards for his work in Georgia and the Carolinas. He lives in Jacksonville and previously covered state politics, environmental issues and courts for the News-Leader in Fernandina Beach. You can reach Wes at [email protected] and @WesWolfeFP. Facebook: facebook.com/wes.wolfe


One comment

  • PeterH

    September 9, 2022 at 2:59 pm

    The long and short of this discussion revolves around the responsibility of insurance companies.

    First and foremost all insurance companies regardless of whether they market homeowners insurance, healthcare insurance, long term care insurance or life insurance….ALL INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE FIRST BEHOLDEN TO SHAREHOLDERS.

    Granted some insurance companies are slightly better than others. We all need some insurance. But insurance companies have no altruistic promise …. Insurance companies are in the business to make a profit.

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