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The Voice of the Retired Public Employee
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cost Medicare plan.
Non-Medicare Enrollees: Premium Percent Changes
On the non-Medicare side (retirees and active employees), UniCare Basic Indemnity rates increase by +1.9% for individual cov- erage and decreases -3.6% for families. Here’s a complete breakdown of the
The driving factors behind this year’s rate stabilization was largely the new pharma- ceutical contracts with CVS and Express Scripts, which will save at least $91 million in FY19.
“Dr. Herman was kind enough to call our office less than an hour after the Febru- ary 22nd meeting. She wanted to make sure we are comfort- able with the recent decisions, answer any lingering ques- tions and offered to work closely with Mass Retirees in the coming months to better prepare for what will come next year,” said Legislative Director Shawn Duhamel, who, along with General Counsel Bill Rehrey, was present at the meeting.
“We believe we have a pos- itive outcome for FY19 and appreciate the steps taken by the GIC to address our con- cerns. It is important that we work with labor and the GIC to find new ways to control healthcare costs that do not cost shift or undermine the quality of benefits.”
In the March edition of the Voice, we reported that Gov- ernor Charlie Baker has pro- posed no change to current state contribution rates for the coming fiscal year. While the House and Senate will not release their budget blueprints until later this spring, there is no reason to believe either branch would opt to change contribution rates.
It should be noted that state policy toward contribution rates and health plan design can have a direct impact on policy at the local level. State law allows cities and towns to mirror GIC copayments and deductibles without collective bargaining. In practical sense, this means municipalities can increase copayments and deductibles up to the level charged by the GIC without the need to negotiate locally. For more details, see related article, p. 16.
While the new fiscal year and GIC health plans go into effect on July 1, insurance premiums are paid one month in advance.
Non-Medicare Broad Network Plans
Fallon Select
HP Independence
Tufts Navigator
UniCare Basic Indemnity
UniCare Plus
Individual Family
3.9% 4.9%
0.3% -0.1%
2.0% 1.9%
1.9% -3.6%
0.4% -0.1
Non-Medicare Limited Network Plans
UniCare Community Choice
Tufts Spirit
Fallon Direct
HPHC Primary Choice
NHP Prime
Individual Family
-3.5% -1.0%
2.0% 1.8%
2.1% 6.9%
-2.8% 1.0%
0.5% -3.9%
1.9% 4.8%
premium percent changes for the non- Medicare plans.
Premium Contributions How It Works
The 17-member GIC heeded calls from Mass Retirees and union leaders not to increase copayments and deductibles for FY19. February’s vote reaffirmed the earlier decision not to increase out-of-pocket costs for the coming year. For more on this, see related story on this page.
Individual monthly costs are determined by the percentage in which a retiree contributes. State retiree percentages are at three levels of contribution, dependent upon the date of retirement (10%, 15% and 20%). Active state employees are at two rates, 20% or 25%, dependent upon the date of hire.
Municipal rates are set by each city or town and vary from 10% to 50%, with the munic- ipal average now approximately 75/25.
While the news is welcomed, GIC Execu- tive Director Dr. Roberta Herman made it clear that no one should expect lower costs to be the trend in FY20 or future years to come.
IN OUT-OF-POCKETS W Some GIC Copays Decrease
ith all of the starts, That includes the copayment stops and confusion for Tier 3 Specialist being
that surrounded the GIC’s FY19 procurement and health plan design process, a bit of very good news may have been lost.
The GIC will not increase copayments or deductibles for the coming fiscal year begin- ning on July 1, 2018. In fact, certain copayments and deductibles will actually see a small decrease!
dropped from $90 to $75. Also, the calendar year deductible for five non- Medicare plans (Unicare Community Choice, Harvard Pilgrim Choice, Tufts Spirit, Fallon Direct and Health New England) was reduced from $500 individual and $1,000 family to $400 and $800 respectively.
The GIC’s announcement

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