LINCOLN — A judge has denied a motion seeking to halt the state's switch to a new health insurance provider.
Lancaster County Judge Stephen Burns indicated Wednesday, however, that he has not yet ruled on whether to toss out a lawsuit challenging the switch to United Healthcare from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska.
Omaha-based Blue Cross Blue Shield has administered the health insurance program for state workers for 27 years but lost the contract, effective July 1, to Minneapolis-based United Healthcare. State officials have said the change will save $8 million a year, although some state employees have complained that United Healthcare providers are lacking in some rural areas of the state.
Blue Cross Blue Shield filed suit to reverse the decision, alleging that the state used a faulty scoring system in picking the new contractor and that the state would be paying $10 million more a year. The firm asked the judge to halt the scheduled switchover.
Burns ruled that Blue Cross Blue Shield so far has failed to establish that the scoring system was in error and failed to prove that the company would be harmed if the contract switch occurred while the lawsuit continued.
Last week, lawyers for the state and United Healthcare argued that the state had already rejected an administrative appeal by Blue Cross Blue Shield and that unsuccessful bidders don't have the right to sue.
The $180 million contract provides insurance coverage for about 28,000 state employees and their spouses and dependents.
Contact the writer: