Articles about Health Insurance that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees
Only Impacts Certain Medicare Enrollees
NOVEMBER 21, 2015: Members who are insured under the state Group Insurance Commission’s (GIC) Option Medicare Extension (OME) plan will have a new prescription drug provider as of January 1, 2016.
As the GIC and our Association have been reporting for nearly a year, prescription coverage under the OME plan is being transferred SilverScript. Under federal law, retirees must be given the opportunity to “Opt Out” of the new drug plan.
Am I Required to Enroll in Medicare?
“By far, this is one of the more frequent questions that I’m asked,” says Association Insurance Coordninator Cheryl Stillman. “Here’s what you should know.”
A Sampling of Local Experience
November 2015 Voice: With municipal health insurance reform in 2011, there was a spike in the number of Public Employee Committees (PECs) across the Commonwealth. Currently, some 185 Association members are serving as retiree designees on PECs that negotiate with local officials over health insurance plans.
No Social Security COLA Projected For 2016
Editor's Note: In late November, a budget deal was struck between Congress and President Obama which contains to the Medicare law that prevent the servere increase in Medicare Part B premiums that are spoke of in the following story. Read the latest news on this issue here.
What Does Medicare Cover For Nursing and Therapy Services at Home?
“On this, I’ve heard from members complaining because Medicare refused to cover the cost of skilled nursing and therapy care that they were receiving at home,” reports Stillman. “That’s because Medicare had what they called the ‘Improvement Standard.’
The tentative budget agreement forged by congressional leaders and the Obama administration will ward off a historic spike in Medicare premiums for the coming year, but it will nevertheless require nearly one in three older Americans to pay 17 percent more in monthly premiums for doctors’ visits and other outpatient care.
Warren, Neal, Clark, McGovern and Tsongas Help Protect Retirees
OCTOBER 27, 2015: The federal government is about to come to the aid of public retirees who have been bracing for a major increase in Medicare Part B premiums for 2016.
Medicare Rates May Increase for Some Retirees
OCTOBER 9, 2015: A flat Consumer Price Index (CPI) means there will be no COLA increase under Social Security for 2016. The CPI-W is the federal standard used to calculate inflation.
Since 1987, a national debate has raged as to whether or not the CPI-W is an accurate gauge for retirees. Many, including our Association, feel a more accurate measure is the CPI-E (Elderly), which looks to inflationary pressures such as healthcare costs that impact retirees on a larger scale.
Only Medicare Retirees Subcribed to State Unicare Plan Impacted
July 2015 Voice: As of January 1, 2016 retirees enrolled in the state Group Insurance Commission’s (GIC) Optional Medicare Extension (OME) plan will receive their prescription drug benefits through a federal Medicare program known as EGWP.
The acronym, pronounced “Egg-Whip”, stands for Employer Group Waiver Program. Essentially, EGWP is a prescription drug program run by the federal government through Medicare Part D.
Association Initiative Would Lower Expense Cap
MAY 2015 VOICE: After five-years of low cost growth and medical inflation, retiree costs with the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) are set to jump come July 1, 2015. The sharp increase in what some retirees will be forced to pay for healthcare has resulted in an Association legislative proposal seeking to lower the cap on out-of-pocket costs.