Commission Reviews Spousal Health Coverage Dilemma

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-More than a dozen widows who were married to retired Madison County employees saw their health insurance coverage dropped earlier this year, and one county commissioner now says it's time to give it back.

The change was sparked by the new federal health care law, but whether or not coverage can actually be restored remains unclear.

Madison County Commissioner Roger Jones said no one realized just how much the new federal health care law would change things, especially for the spouses of some of his former employees.

"What I'm trying to do is get this coverage back to them," said Jones. "A lot of these people are on fixed incomes. Some of them are living on Social Security and very little else, and health insurance is very important to them."

The widows who were dropped in January had always been covered under the county's old self-insured health care plan. But officials told WHNT News 19 that the program had to be abandoned when they were informed that new mandates in Obamacare would amount to an extra $25 million per year, money that Madison County Chairman Dale Strong said the county simply doesn't have. Instead, commissioners decided to join a statewide insurance network that 50 other county governments also participate in.

"In joining with this large group, it does not provide for spouses when their husbands die or their wives die," said Strong. "So that's where we are, how do we do this."

Commissioners reviewed their options at Wednesday's work session, but a clear answer has yet to emerge. Jones said he'll continue to push for reinstatement, but Chairman Strong said other factors will have to be considered.

"The thing I'm wanting to know is, is this a common practice with the corporate world, is this a common practice within the state of Alabama," said Strong. "While I want to do what's right for the employees, I also want to do what's right for the taxpayers of Madison County."

Widows of retired county employees still receive 18 months of Cobra coverage after their regular health insurance coverage expires.


  • tinkerbell

    That’s the way private company’s are in Alabama, so why would Madison County employees be any different. Lots of widows or widowers will be on social security and fixed incomes when the spouse that is working passes away and they will no longer have insurance.

    • anne cink

      “If the Alabama Governor & legislators would have expanded Medicaid under the ACA/ObamaCare many of the Widows would be covered for no cost to Alabama!”
      You sound just like Obama, Pelosi and Reid! Cancelled insurance? So what? They can get OBAMACARE! (this is the part I love) And it’s “free”!
      The rest of us, with a brain, realize you’re taking a person who’s “health care” was taken care of by a private entity and converting that person into a government (taxpayer) dependent! Same is true of the five+ million people who lost their private insurance. Liberals argue, “Oh, it’s ok! They can get insurance from Obamacare AND THEY’LL GET A SUPPLEMENT.” You took 5+ million peole, who were paying their way and made them dependent on taxpayers for their health care.

      • Bebe Schmidt

        Where did the 5+ million number come from? If you are going to spout numbers it probably makes sense to make sure they are correct (quoting Fox news doesn’t count)

      • TruthLivesHere

        Tell it like it is Anne. There is no such thing as “free” or “at no cost”. People that work and pay their way have become the doormat for those that won’t.

      • TruthLivesHere

        at Bebe Schmidt… So quoting Fox News doesn’t count? I guess quoting MSNBC or CNN would count? You are a typical Obamunist.

      • agent50

        Dear Anne Cink—Do you realize that these poor widows were already getting “Free” health insurance from a government entity–the “taxpayers of Madison county…Since most of them only receive social Security they will now be able to be subsidized by the Feds instead of your state….One way or another the tax payer would have to pay….Come on—Use your noodle and quit bitching…Get informed.

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.