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Lawmakers push for extending open enrollment for public workers amid contract negotiations


A bipartisan slate of 16 Delaware lawmakers are asking state officials to extend the deadline for public workers to enroll in a health insurance plan by at least two weeks.

That’s due to ongoing contract negotiations between Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and Bayhealth Medical Center. The current agreement between the insurance company and hospital expires Sunday.


Should no new agreement be reached, those enrolled with Highmark may have to pay higher out-of-network fees when visiting any part of the Bayhealth system, which extends across all three counties – though it's mostly concentrated in southern Delaware.


“Before they are compelled to enroll, they need to know if Highmark is a viable choice in their geographic area,” lawmakers wrote.


Open enrollment for state employees closes May 26, with new plans kicking in at the beginning of July. They do have the option to switch to Aetna, though the plans and coverage levels differ from Highmark.


State budget director Ann Visalli wasn’t immediately available for comment.