Aetna sues city over $90M contract decided 'behind closed doors'

Aetna is suing Jacksonville for allegedly violating its own selection process and making a $90 million contract to provide health coverage for the Florida city "behind closed doors."

Aetna has held the contract since 1999, but Jacksonville recently chose Florida Blue (formerly Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida) to administer insurance benefits for its employees.

In the lawsuit filed Aug. 31 in state court, Aetna said the meetings Jacksonville officials held to select an insurance company violated Florida's open-meeting laws, as well as the city's own procurement procedures, reported The Florida Times-Union.

Aetna called the selection process "clearly erroneous, contrary to competition, and arbitrary and capricious." It added that the city's procurement practices were "inconsistent" and the decision was made "behind closed doors," Aetna spokesman Scot Roskelley told the Jacksonville Business Journal.

Jacksonville officials, however, said part of the reason it chose Florida Blue was because it submitted rates that were $6 million less than Aetna's.

To learn more:
- read the Florida Times-Union article
- see the Jacksonville Business Journal article