The appeals of the North Carolina State Health Plan contract, which has been awarded to Aetna, have been rejected according to North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell.

Earlier this month it was announced that Aetna had been awarded the Third-Party Administrative Services Contract for the State Health Plan.  Aetna was chosen over Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC), which has held the contract for more that 40 years.

BCBSNC and UMR Inc., which also bid on the contract, both appealed the request for proposals process.

The administrative contract is for the state health plan that covers nearly 740,000 teachers, state employees, retirees and their dependents.  The five-year contract is for the administration of over $17.5 billion over a five-year period.

According to the state treasurer’s office, the new contract with Aetna focusses on transparency and lower costs and has the potential administrative cost savings over the course of the contract of $140 million.

A press release from the state treasurer on the rejection of the appeals states, “Two bidders protested the contract award to Aetna.  After finding that the assertions made by both losing bidders were without merit, the Plan’s Interim Executive Director Sam Watts notified both bidders that their appeals had been rejected.  This concludes the protest process, and the Plan is moving forward under the new contract with Aetna.”

The letters to the bidders informing them of the rejection of their protests were 11 pages long and went into detail about why the protests were being rejected.

That letter notes that BCBSNC did not object to the modernized RFP process during the process itself but found fault with the process only after BCBSNC did not receive the contract.

Aetna is not scheduled to take over the administration of the State Health Plan until 2025, and the press release states that the third party administrator “does not, and has never, set premiums or determined what benefits are covered. The Plan’s Board of Trustees has the authority to do that, so this transition will not impact the plans that are in place today; therefore, premiums, copays and deductibles are not changing.”