Guilderland to drop Humana coverage for retirees

GUILDERLAND — After saying the switch to a new health care provider for its retirees — Humana —  would be a good thing for former employees, the town of Guilderland has reversed itself and will change providers.

Retirees will now be covered by United Healthcare.

The Enterprise reported in early January complaints from Anne Tucker Rose, a former Guilderland supervisor and recipient of retiree benefits from the town, that the switch from Capital District Physicians Health Plan to Humana left her looking for a new doctor. 

On Feb. 3, The Enterprise published an editorial about a retired Guilderland Police officer, Dean Spadaro, whose treatment for stage 4 prostate cancer was being compromised by the switch to Humana.

That was followed by a letter from another former Guilderland officer, Dan Cocca, whose career was sidelined by an on-the-job injury, with similar complaints about the switch to Humana.

In January, Guilderland’s comptroller and director of human resources, Darci Efaw, had told The Enterprise the switch to Humana would save the town money but would provide the same benefits to retirees.

“We have the same in- and out-of-network benefits for our retirees, and therefore the co-pays will be exactly the same,” Efaw said then.

Efaw said under CDPHP’s Medicare Advantage, which formerly covered retirees, Guilderland’s cost was $278 per person per month. “And when we switched to Humana, it went down to $167 a month,” she said.

Efaw said then that providing retirees with both in- and out-of-network options is why the town made the switch to Humana.

On Feb. 9, the town sent out a letter to its Medicare Advantage subscribers saying,  “Unfortunately, our hopes that a positive resolution to the negotiations with Humana and certain local providers has not happened,” leading the town to switch to a new Medicare Advantage Plan provider: United Healthcare.

“UHC’s benefits mirror your current plan to the best of our ability with no additional cost to retirees …,” the letter continued. “This transition will be automatic with no paperwork required from you and no lapse in coverage and will be effective April 1, 2024.”

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