Articles about Local Insurance that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees
Agreement Includes Premium Holiday
JANUARY 2012 VOICE: In our November Voice, we highlighted several of the communities that had adopted the new Municipal Health Insurance (MHI) law in order to join the state Group Insurance Commission (GIC). But, let’s not forget there is another major component to MHI, namely the option to make plan design changes (Section 22 of Chapter 32B). Gardner became the first municipality to implement the plan design option.
JANUARY 2012 VOICE: Beginning July 1, 2009, the retirees, survivors and employees in 11 communities initiated their health insurance coverage with the state Group Insurance Commission (GIC). Whether their GIC coverage would continue for 3 or 6 years depended upon the agreement that had been reached between local officials and the PEC (Public Employee Committee).
Heavy Activity on Cape Cod, South Shore and Nashoba Valley
DECEMBER 19, 2011: As 2012 approaches, the number of municipalities eyeing changes to their local health insurance plans is rapidly growing. In the past two weeks alone, the Association has had requests from 18 separate local entities seeking a retiree representative to the local Public Employee Committee (PEC).
State aid cuts, lack of growth are cited
December 7 2011: Cash-strapped cities and towns across Massachusetts are struggling with the worst stress on their budgets since passage of Proposition 2 1/2 in 1980, according to a new report from the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
Back when Beacon Hill was considering reforms to the way cities and towns design health plans for their workers, we were warned by public employee unions that the end of the world was nigh. Turns out, not so much.
Local Insurance Mitigation Funds Essential
NOVEMBER 2011 VOICE: A major point of negotiation during the Municipal Health Insurance Reform debate was the issue of mitigation funds being set aside to help offset the increased costs to be borne by retirees, survivors and employees under the new Municipal Health Insurance Law (Chapter 69, Acts of 2011).
Includes Part B Refund
Arlington has become the first municipality to join the state Group Insurance Commission (GIC) under the new municipal health insurance law (Section 23). Town officials have contacted the GIC before October 1, so that the transfer will be done on January 1, 2012.
Retirees Must Chose Plan By October 26
OCTOBER 21, 2011: Open enrollment is now underway for retirees, survivors and active employees from the towns of Arlington, Medford, Somerville and Wakefield, communities that will join the stateâ€™s Group Insurance Commission on January 1, 2012.
Members from these communities only have until Wednesday, October 26, 2011 to chose which GIC insurance plan to enroll. Those, who miss the enrollment deadline, will no longer have health insurance coverage after the January 1 transfer date.
SEPTEMBER 2011 VOICE: The seven-year odyssey, that has been a string of municipal health insurance reform initiatives, has closed its latest chapter with the passage of a new law that could dramatically reshape how local insurance plans are negotiated and established.
SEPTEMBER 2011 VOICE: No sooner had Chapter 69 become law, than Arlingtonâ€™s board of selectmen voted 4-0 to move forward and join the state Group Insurance Commission (GIC). Right behind them, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curatone also began the move to the GIC.
Other communities, from cities, such as Fall River and New Bedford, to the smallest Berkshire towns are now weighing how to proceed. Essentially, Chapter 32B (municipal health insurance) now provides multiple options as to how to negotiate and design local insurance benefits.