By Brad McElhinny, WV MetroNews
October 15, 2020
PEIA is preparing to re-bid a Medicare prescription drug contract that covers about 50,000 people, a development that the agency’s director calls due diligence but that is activating alarm bells among labor organizations.
The contract winner could be named early next year, with the provider taking over Jan. 1, 2022.
This change comes as people are particularly attuned to their healthcare needs during the coronavirus pandemic and during a contentious state government electoral cycle, just a couple of years after insurance costs for public employees led to a statewide teachers strike.
“Although the cyclical re-bidding of contracts for third-party administrators of PEIA is standard procedure, this one smells a bit fishy because of the timing,” said Josh Sword, president of the West Virginia AFL-CIO and a former member of the finance board for the Public Employees Insurance Agency.
“PEIA participants that are Medicare-eligible or will be soon need to keep a close eye on this one,” Sword said, adding that a “provider change could be very disruptive to their health care. The devil will be in the details.”