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 INSURANCE NEWS
JULY 2018
O COALITION BARgAININg STILL WORKINg WELL IN PITTSFIELD
ver ten years ago, Pitts- the city’s health insurance field adopted the Coali- carrier before joining the GIC.
tion Bargaining Law (Section 19) for negotiating and agree- ing with its PEC (Public Employee Committee) on the health insurance program for its retirees and employees. And the law is sill working well for the city – better than ever.
Their agreement yielded substantial premium savings, enabling them to establish a well-funded Mitigation Fund for those with higher health- care costs. And just as impor- tant, the city and the PEC
Pittsfield adopted Section 19 shortly after it was amended by Chapter 67 in 2007. These changes made participa- tion in the state GIC (Group Insurance Com- mission) more feasible and accessible for cities and towns.
ANDREW POWELL AND SHAWN DUHAMEL
HERE ARE SOME OF THE
PEC AGREEMENT’S KEY FEATURES:
For non-Medicare retirees and employees, maintains the existing 15% premium contribution for the first 5 years and increases the percent to 20% in the agreement’s sixth year (2023-2024).
agreed to lock in the percentage of the premium that retirees had to pay. From July 1, 2015 to this coming June 30, 2018, the per- centage remained at 15%.
Continues coverage with Blue Cross with a HMO (Network Blue New England) and PPO (Blue Care Elect) plan.
New 6 Year Contract
With their agreement
“One of the major changes in 2007 was to place local retirees and employees in the same insurance pool as their state counterparts. By making this change, the premiums would all be the same, avoiding a higher rate for a much smaller pool of local retirees and employees,” according to Legislative Director Shawn Duhamel. “After Section 19 was amended, we wit- nessed an influx of cities and towns into the GIC.”
Plans to transfer non-Medicare retirees to Medicare no later than July 1, 2019.
Introduces a $1,500 (individual)/$3,000 (family) High- Deductible plan as an option with 100% of the deductible covered by a health-savings account (HSA) for the agree- ment’s first two years (2018-2020), 75% for the third and fourth years (2020-2022) and 50% for the agreement’s remaining years (2022-2024).
set to expire this June 30, city officials and the PEC engaged in extensive negotiations to craft and reach a successor agreement. Retired Firefighter Francis Kennedy is our designee on the PEC. And their work paid off with a new six-year agreement, beginning this July 1, 2018 and remaining in effect until June 30, 2024.
For Medicare retirees, maintains the existing 15% premium contribution for all six years.
Slowly phases in the existing “benchmark” plan design into practice but not until the agreement’s fifth year (2022-2023).
“Over the years, we’ve worked closely with Andrew Powell, a
As of July 1, 2009, Pittsfield and ten other communities had entered into agreements with their PEC that enrolled their retirees and employees in the GIC. And Pittsfield’s participation in the state
health insurance program continued for the next six years (2009-2015).
field representative with the AFT (American Fed- eration of Teachers) MA, on local health insurance,” con- tinues Duhamel. “Members may recall that back in 2012, I served on a Special Legisla-
Before December 2014, the city officials and PEC notified the GIC that they would be leaving the state insurance program as of June 30, 2015. Instead they entered into a three-year agreement in which their insur- ance coverage was switched to Blue Cross,
Please See Page 13 ☞
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