Articles about Local Insurance that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees
Busy Schedule For Public Service Committee
SEPTEMBER 5, 2013: With the summer recess now in the rearview mirror, the state Legislature has returned to Beacon Hill with an aggressive fall agenda.
On Tuesday, September 10th, the Joint Committee on Public Service will reconvene with what is expected to be a lengthy public hearing in the State House’s Gardner Auditorium. Association officials will be on hand to testify on further increases to the COLA base (S1259 & S1263) and the Option B & C recalculation (H2235).
H59 Marks Largest Issue of 2013
AUGUST 7, 2013: The Joint Committee on Public Service has announced that on October 31, 2013 it will hold the long awaited public hearing on H59, Governor Deval Patrick’s proposal to reform retiree healthcare benefits.
As members know, H59 largely reflects the findings of the 2012 Special Commission on Retiree Healthcare, on which our Association held a seat. Legislative Liaison Shawn Duhamel represented public retirees on the Commission.
Focus On Municipal Healthcare
JUNE 19, 2013: The Association has joined Fallon Community Health Plan’s Municipal Advisory Group, which brings together a variety of healthcare interests from West Suburban and Central Massachusetts.
Chaired by Shrewsbury Town Manager Dan Morgado, the Advisory Group was created in 2012 by Fallon as a means of affecting better communication between municipal officials, retiree and employee groups and insurance representatives. Both Steward Heath Systems and U-Mass Medical Center also participate.
3.5% Increase Below State National Averages
MAY 2013 VOICE: Once again the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) has been able to hold the line on insurance premium rate increases, beating both the state and national averages for an average increase of 3.5% across its offering of health plans.
Mirrors Special Commission Report
MAY 2013 VOICE: True to his word, Governor Deval Patrick has filed a bill (H59) to reform retiree healthcare benefits that mirrors the recommendations made by the Special Commission on Retiree Healthcare. See March Voice for Commission details, including retiree/survivor protectons.
Legislative Focus On Taxes & Transportation
APRIL 4, 2013: While concern over potential sweeping changes in retiree healthcare benefits grows amongst active employees, legislative action on Governor Patrick’s H59 now appears to be on a slow track.
Retiree Healthcare Reform Awaits Action
MARCH 19, 2013: For the first time in nearly a generation, government leaders are strongly weighing options that would increase state revenues – raise taxes – to pay for much needed infrastructure improvements and further investment in education.
With nearly laser-like attention being placed on the issue of taxes and the pending FY14 State Budget, legislative leaders have not begun to address the number one issue on the mind of public retirees and employees – H59, Retiree Healthcare Reform.
Commission Issues Final Report
MARCH 2013 VOICE: After more than ten months of meetings, research and intense negotiations, the Special Commission on Retiree Healthcare has completed its work. The result is a report containing a series of recommendations that will likely impact both state and local retiree healthcare benefits in the future.
All 6 Health Plans To Continue
FEBRUARY 19, 2013: The state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) voted to retain all six of its current health insurance providers. While the bids have been accepted by the GIC, the specifics of the contract are now being negotiated in advance of the GIC’s March meeting.
Retirees and survivors insured under the GIC’s Optional Medicare Extension (OME) plan are very happy to see that UniCare will continue as the plan’s provider. UniCare also carries the GIC’s indemnity plan, which is widely popular for non-Medicare retirees.
H59 Includes Key Retiree Protections
FEBRUARY 16, 2013: This week, Governor Deval Patrick filed a legislative proposal that would significantly change healthcare benefits for future retirees, while grandfathering and protecting current retiree benefits from knee-jerk changes in contribution percentage rates.