Monday November 30th, 2015 3:04AM

Local school employees affected by NGHS, United dispute

By Katie Crumley
GAINESVILLE - A group of United Healthcare customers that are greatly affected by the expiration of a contract between North Georgia Health System and United are public school employees across our area, including employees of the Hall County School System.

"The Hall County School District, of course, became very concerned about our employees and their benefits because 75 to 85 percent of our employees have United Healthcare coverage," said Hall County Schools Spokesman Gordon Higgins.

The insurance company and health system's contract expired at midnight Wednesday, meaning Northeast Georgia Medical Center and its physicians group is now considered out of network to anyone covered by United.

"It's right in the middle of the enrollment cycle and most of them feel like they're not left with a lot of alternatives," said Higgins.

He said school systems across the area are in the same boat since insurance options for public schools are decided on by the state.

Higgins said he has spoken with both sides and he said they have communicated a willingness to come back to the table.

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