Articles about the State GIC that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees
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.
Increase Below State & National Averages
MARCH 6, 2013: 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.
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.
Budget Also Includes Full GIC Funding
JANUARY 24, 2013: Governor Deval Patrick proposed a full 3% COLA increase for eligible state and teacher retirees within his FY 2014 budget proposal filed on Wednesday. In November 2011, the state increased the COLA base for state and teacher retirees to $13,000.
COLA's for municipal and county retirees are the responsibility of local retirement systems. At this time, a number of local systems have begun discussions to approve a 3% COLA for their retirees come July 1.
Retiree Healthcare Bill Not Included
JANUARY 22, 2013: When Governor Deval Patrick files his FY 14 Budget proposal on Wednesday, it is not expected to contain legislation to reform retiree healthcare. Observers now anticipate a stand-alone bill to be filed in late January or early February that mirrors the report filed by the Special Commission on Retiree Healthcare, issued in December.
Boston Globe Editorial
January 16, 2013