WEDNESDAY, JULY 11: Government workers having their dental insurance made “inactive” by their insurer was brought to our attention on Friday last week by dentists.
We were told that dental insurance coverage for Government employees had been suspended because the Government had failed to pay the premium for their coverage.
We investigated the claims and found that the portal used to provide dentists with patient insurance coverage information showed the status of GEHI patients as “Inactive – Customer must contact their employer.”
We had our sources check with their contacts with the insurer who confirmed a ‘suspension’ of coverage and that it was because the Government was in arrears on paying the insurer the premium.
We also saw the insurer’s patient information portal showing GEHI coverage was “Inactive”.
We considered the instruction to dentists that the ‘customer must contact their employer’ to be extraordinary, especially given that these government employees had already paid their part of the premium through automatic paycheque deductions.
And so we decided to act.
On Sunday night, we issued a statement alerting employees under GEHI that their dental insurer had changed the status of their coverage to ‘inactive’ from ‘active’.
This meant they could no longer expect dentists to automatically accept their GEHI coverage. It meant their coverage was ‘inactive’ pending a discussion between the employee and the employer – presumably to get the employee to pressure the employer to pay the premium.
The situation was clearly unfair to government employees and that is why we decided to act.
So what happened?
The Finance Ministry called our statement “baseless” and Premier said we were “reprehensible”.
BF&M issued a statement saying that “GEHI premiums are paid and up to date.”
But here’s something anyone looking at this situation should keep in mind:
- Within 24 hours of this story breaking on Monday morning, BF&M returned its customers’ status to “Active” from “Inactive”.
- A problem was solved; a problem that had the potential to victimize working men and women who had paid their dues.
No matter what people try to spin about this situation, a problem for GEHI customers is no longer a problem.
The OBA did its job.
This was a situation in which civil servants’ insurance status was brought into question because of premium payment issues with the Government.
We raised the matter in good conscience, to make sure working men and women did not pay the price for the action or inaction of others.