The state’s largest teacher’s union is suing a Williston consultant for mishandling more than $1 million in health claims and reimbursements, saying the company’s malfeasance “wreaked havoc” on thousands of Vermont educators.
The suit by the Burlington Education Association and other local unions aligned with the Vermont -NEA claims that Future Planning Associates “lacked the experience, expertise or capacity” to administer high-deductible health plans for some 24,000 school employees.
The unions say Future Planning failed to properly process claims or didn’t pay the employer’s share of employees’ qualified medical expenses.
As a result, some employees incurred thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses, the suit says, while others stopped receiving necessary medical treatment. In some cases, the suit claims, providers that had not received payment refused to schedule follow up appointments.
The suit accuses Future Planning of breach of contract and consumer fraud.
“Unfortunately, the expertise touted by Future Planning Associates didn’t exist,” said Don Tinney, president of Vermont-NEA. “Their incompetence has had real consequences on the women and men who teach Vermont’s children.”
Future Planning terminated its contracts with local districts in May, according to the lawsuit. The company then failed to disclose problems with unprocessed or improperly processed claims.
“The crisis generated by FPA’s business mismanagement, by its deliberate minimization of the problems that it had caused, and by its abrupt termination of contracts with public-school clients was unprecedented,” the suit said. “The magnitude and scope of the problems were, and remain, staggering.”
Calls and emails to Future Planning seeking comment on the suit were not returned.
The suit, filed in Washington County Superior Court, seeks unspecified damages.