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What the Premier, UnitedHealthcare contract means for you

Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 12:01 PM


            FILE
FILE

Premier Health and UnitedHealthcare have agreed to a new contract, ending a seven-month dispute that affected nearly 200,000 health insurance policy holders in the region.

The two companies had been unable to reach a new contract deal last May and the dispute dragged on through the end of 2017, leaving patients with Premier doctors and UHC insurance scrambling to either find a new doctor, switch insurers or pay more for out-of-network care.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

No deal in sight between Premier and UnitedHealthcare contract talks

Timeline: How Premier, UHC dispute unfolded in 2017

Why the Premier-UHC dispute could hit region harder in 2018

The new contract deal was announced Tuesday and was effective starting Jan. 1.

Here’s what the agreement mean for you:

If you got out-of-network care during the contract dispute:

The status of those health care bills likely doesn’t change, since the care was delivered while Premier and UHC didn’t have a contract.

A temporary agreement let patients pay with $25 co-pays for primary care.

Also, if you got out-of-network care, you’re not alone. Already by August, more than 1,000 patients with UnitedHealthcare went to a Premier emergency room, according to the health network. While patients weren’t typically responsible for the full bill, the final bills were likely higher than what it would be for in-network care.

If your company stayed with UnitedHealthcare during open enrollment season:

Companies had to make tough decisions over whether to stick with Unitedhealthcare for 2018, which may have been the best choice for their bottom line but also put employees with Premier doctors in a bind.

For those employers that stuck with UnitedHealthcare, the contract deal solidifies that it was a good decision to stay, said Scott McGohan, CEO of McGohan Brabender, a Dayton-area employee benefits broker.

McGohan said employers with UnitedHealthcare coverage want to run their business, they don’t want to manage problems that had been created for their employees their by the dispute.

“For employers that have UnitedHealthcare, what this does is it doesn’t disrupt their workforce,” he said.

If you already switched insurance companies:

You have the insurance coverage for all of 2018 unless you have a major life event.

If you already switched doctors:

If you switch back to Premier, you’ll be back in-network for UnitedHealthcare.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan managed by UHC:

Your health care coverage should not have been interrupted if you had UHC-managed Medicare Advantage last year and this year. A temporary deal extended coverage until Jan. 1, which is when the new contract went in place.

If you live in Miami County and have UnitedHealthcare:

You have a shorter drive to get in-network care now that Premier-affiliated Upper Valley Medical Center near Troy, the only hospital in the county, is back in-network.

Miami County Commissioner John Evans said it was a difficult time for the residents during the contract dispute and the county government had ended up switching insurers from UHC to Medical Mutual in case the dispute carried on into 2018.

Being out-of-network also affected Upper Valley from a business standpoint. It’s one of the largest employers and economic forces in the county.

“Obviously it’s a great thing that they finally got this worked out and got back together,” Evans said, adding that he wished the news had happened a month or two ago before insurance enrollment decisions had to be made.

South Charleston boy, 8, dies in possible bathtub drowning, sheriff’s office says

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 3:53 PM

Grady Neff. Contributed photoFOR THE FULL STORY, GO TO SpringfieldNewsSun.com.
Staff Writer
Grady Neff. Contributed photoFOR THE FULL STORY, GO TO SpringfieldNewsSun.com.(Staff Writer)

An 8-year-old South Charleston boy died last week in a possible bathtub drowning.

A visitation for Grady Neff, a student at Miami View Elementary School, will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, at the Clark County Fairgrounds Mercantile Annex Building.

“Everybody that knew Grady loved him,” the family said in a statement. 

>>MORE: Southeastern school to start building new gym soon

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has ruled out anything criminal, Lt. Kristopher Shultz said, but are continuing their investigation to see what might have caused the possible drowning.

Grady had a seizure and his death is a tragedy, the family’s statement says.

FOR THE FULL STORY, GO TO SpringfieldNewsSun.com.

 

KITTY NEWS: Fairborn getting its very own cat cafe 

Published: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 3:46 PM

Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson recently announced the StreetCats cat cafe. The initiative is design to help address the city's stray and homeless cat issues. Photo: The City of Fairborn.
Photo: The City of Fairborn.
Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson recently announced the StreetCats cat cafe. The initiative is design to help address the city's stray and homeless cat issues. Photo: The City of Fairborn.(Photo: The City of Fairborn.)

Fairborn will soon have something to purrrr about. 

StreetCats, a volunteer-driven organization, is planning to open a “cat cafe” at 14 N. Third St. in downtown Fairborn.

>> RELATED: 22 reasons to visit Fairborn

The cafe/cat resource center is part of a tactical approach  between the city and several agencies to address the community’s stray and homeless cat population.

It will allow people a chance to play with cats, Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson said in the recent Facebook Live  message he delivered while covered in purring cats and kittens. 

>> MORE: Dayton’s first ‘catfe’ opening soon — and here are its first tenants  

“It is not only a fun thing, but also a very important thing we are trying to do,” Anderson said in the video. “Fairborn is getting creative.” 

The cat cafe is set to open in January with the hope to expand to a larger space in the future. 

In addition to cats, there will be art classes, yoga and free WiFi, plus coffee and baked goods. 

Anderson said the cat cafe is a way to address the city’s on-going issues with homeless and stray cats in a humane way. 

The organization will help find new homes for displaced house cats and offer services that will allow cats to be dropped off to be neutered and released, said Anderson, a self-proclaimed “cat person.”

“StreetCats aims to become a lightning rod for change, a clearinghouse for information and a creative place to connect interested community members,” an email to this news organization from Anderson said. 

StreetCats will be housed in city-owned property near that city’s kitchen incubator and a co-working space in the former site of Roush's Restaurant.

The initiative has the support of a number of animal groups, Elisabeth Fitzhugh of Blue’s Mews Siamese Cat Rescues told this news organization. 

“I am actually thrilled by what (Anderson) is doing,” she said.

>> RELATED: This new Fairborn store offers horrifying oddities

>> RELATED: Pepsi moving 150 jobs to Fairborn, closing Dayton, Springfield sites

Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson recently announced the StreetCats cat cafe. The initiative is design to help address the city's stray and homeless cat issues. Photo: The City of Fairborn.(Photo: The City of Fairborn.)

County’s highest property values? Washington Twp. now tops Kettering

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 11:38 AM
Updated: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 3:44 PM

Washington Twp. had the most 2017 gains in property values in the county. Realtor Jeff Spring stands inside a 17,000-square foot home in Washington Twp. that was for sale. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Washington Twp. had the most 2017 gains in property values in the county. Realtor Jeff Spring stands inside a 17,000-square foot home in Washington Twp. that was for sale. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

After factoring in new construction, Washington Twp. had the most 2017 gains in property values in the county, according to a final analysis by the Montgomery County Auditor’s Office.

During a tentative report on values over the summer, Kettering held the mantle. But the final triennial review shows Washington Twp. up more than $270 million, and Kettering gained $218 million. Washington Twp. also got a boost from a $15.5 million Board of Revision increase to the value of Whole Foods Plaza.

RELATED: Montgomery County property values rebound from historic drop

“We are seeing values increase countywide. That’s not true of every neighborhood, and it’s not true of every community,” said Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith. “But most communities across the county are seeing increases.”

Because of a rebound in housing sales, property values rose or held even in all but four of Montgomery County’s 28 jurisdictions, Keith told about 70 local officials Thursday.

The final values approved by the state department of taxation will determine how much money local jurisdictions and school districts can expect to receive from the unvoted portion of local taxes.

Value changes will result in about $4.1 million in more revenue spread across the county’s jurisdictions, according to the auditor’s office. School districts will see more than half that, including Centerville’s, estimated to get an additional $657,517, and Kettering, $466,554. Three districts, Dayton, New Lebanon and Trotwood-Madison are expected to see a slight decrease.

By percentage, Oakwood’s values – buoyed almost entirely by past residential sales – rose the most, nearly 13 percent.

Final values dropped in Jefferson Twp., Perry Twp., Jackson Twp. and Harrison Twp. But the values dipped in those county’s more rural townships primarily due to a change in the way agricultural land is taxed. The formula was changed to ease the burden on farmers, some who had seen taxes climb as much as 300 percent in recent years. The change resulted in about a 30 percent reduction – or $82 million – decline in agricultural land values.

RELATED: Home values have risen in all Montgomery County communities but one

The gain in values countywide will mean an increase for some in the unvoted portion of property taxes. The owner of a $100,000 house that increased in value 6 percent from the last review will pay about $19 a year more. Currently, that homeowner pays about $306. The inside millage accounts typically for about 10 percent of an overall property tax bill, according the auditor’s office.

Kings racist jerseys incident: Where do things stand now?

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 2:12 PM


            Kings Schools Superintendent Tim Ackermann told this news outlet Tuesday that systemic - but not yet detailed - changes are coming to Kings to better foster racial and other diversity sensitivity for students, school staffers and the community at large.
Kings Schools Superintendent Tim Ackermann told this news outlet Tuesday that systemic - but not yet detailed - changes are coming to Kings to better foster racial and other diversity sensitivity for students, school staffers and the community at large.

The story of racist basketball jerseys that drew national media attention continues to shake up the Kings school community with Tuesday’s resignation of a school board member, setting up a scenario for a new member joining the district’s governing board.

MORE: Racist basketball jerseys and teacher’s ‘lynching’ remark have Kings, Mason schools in controversy

Former Kings Board of Education Vice President Kerry McKiernan did not attend the final public meeting of his term where fellow members voted 4-0 to accept his resignation.

McKiernan had earlier cited his own failure in stopping some of the boys on the recreational league basketball team – not affiliated with Kings — from wearing jerseys with names that appeared to slur African-Americans.

MORE: Kings board member’s emotional announcement about resigning

Kings officials promised at their meeting Tuesday that major changes are coming to improve racial and diversity awareness among the 4,300-student district in southern Warren County’s Deerfield township.

Here are five things you know about where the controversial issue stands:

Changes are coming to Kings: Kings Superintendent Tim Ackermann told this news outlet Tuesday that systemic - but not yet detailed - changes are coming to Kings to better foster racial and other diversity sensitivity for students, school staffers and the community at large.

Controversy has caused change to the board: By no later than Feb. 9 - more likely Jan. 31 - the four-member Kings school board will have a new member filling McKiernan’s seat. The board Tuesday went into executive session - as allowed under Ohio school law’s provisions for school boards pertaining to personnel matters - to discuss their interview questions for applicants.

Applications are due Jan. 24 for the school-board seat: The board has decided to interview all eligible candidates who file an online application for the board seat. The application is expected to be posted on the Kings website later today. The deadline for filing an application is 4 p.m. Jan. 24.

How the new member will be chosen: Applicants must be at least 18 years old, residents of the Kings School district and registered voters. The board’s choice of a new member will be made during a public vote on Jan. 31, and the chosen applicant will serve out the remainder of McKiernan’s four-year term to December 2019.

Diversity committee will work with officials: An existing Kings diversity committee, whose members include some minority school parents, will work with district officials in formulating new programs and activities designed to improve racial sensitivity in the school system.