We’ve recently been tracking negotiations between Disney and the local unions representing Disney’s Cast Members, but wage negotiations aren’t the only concern facing Cast Members as of late.
Disney announced last year that they would be changing Cast Member’s insurance plans this year. The changes took effect on January 1st, 2018. Disney has established a contract with Orlando Health and Florida Hospital, two of the largest health networks in Florida. This agreement bypass existing insurance companies.
Disney is trying to lower their costs while maintaining quality care for their employers, and establishing this contract has allowed them to keep health care costs similar to last year’s costs even while other plans are increasing in cost.
The New Plan
The new plan exclusive to Disney World will limit patients to the doctors, hospitals, and facilities in the network that they chose – meaning there’s no coverage outside of the network except in special circumstances.
Disney still offers Cigna HMO plans for employees who don’t have access to either Florida Hospital or Orlando Health where they live, but the deductibles on this plan are three to five times higher than those on the two new networks.
Disney has hired a third-party company – Allegiance, a Cigna Company – to manage claims since these plans will function similarly to other insurance plans with premiums and deductibles.
This has some patients and independent doctors upset.
Patients (Disney Cast Members) say despite a three-day educational opportunity in October, they still didn’t understand the plans they had to choose from and ended up choosing a plan that doesn’t include their doctors.
Independent doctors say they’ve lost patients who can’t go out of network for care. Some of them are working with the Winter Park Association of Independent Doctors to deal with the effects of this new arrangement.
Still other employees and some people outside of Disney World are concerned that other large local employers (like Universal Orlando and Sea World) could take similar steps to save money, which could cut some doctors and providers out of the equation.
These types of agreements with provider networks aren’t unusual, especially on the west coast, but they represent a change for Disney and the medical providers in central Florida.
Overall, Disney’s goal is to provide better care at a lower cost, but it means a change for many.
Independent insurance plans: good idea or bad idea?