Health Insurance

Articles about Health Insurance that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees

Funding Health Care Costs

MAY 1999 - Move Underway At Local Level - Back
some 6 years ago, we reported on legislation, by then House Public
Service co-chair Kevin Blanchette, to allow funding of health insurance
costs for public retirees (July '93 Voice). "As Public Service
co-chair, Kevin was a good friend of the Association," according to
Legislative Liaison Shawn Duhamel. "He was also very pro-active when it
came to safeguarding retiree benefits over the long term."

GIC Rates To Increase

MAY 1999 - Remain Below National Average - As
was expected, the state insurance rates for FY’2000 will increase for
the third consecutive year. The state’s Group Insurance Commission
(GIC) approved the slight rate hike at their March 5 meeting.

Prescription Copayments To Increase July 1

MARCH 1999 -
GIC Counters Rising Cost of Drugs - For
the first time in nearly eight years, the state’s Group Insurance
Commission (GIC) has voted to raise the copayment for both the retail
and mail order drug benefits offered through its indemnity plan.

PUBLIC RETIREES ESCAPE DRUG CUT

JANUARY 1999 - HMOs Cap Pharmacy Benefits - In
October, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Tufts Health Plan, Fallon
Community Health Plan, and Blue Cross / Blue Shield of Massachusetts
announced that they would begin to set a dollar limit for their
prescription drug coverage under Medicare, starting January 1, 1999.
Noting the number of phone calls and letters received by the
Association over the past two months, it would appear that members keep
close tabs on health insurance issues.

Town Saves Millions In Insurance Costs

NOVEMBER 1998 - Under Coalition Bargaining - Despite
its critics, the coalition bargaining law continues to operate
effectively for the town of Lexington. Under the law, a coalition
bargaining committee of town and union representatives, including one
representing our Association , implement and maintain the health
insurance package for the town’s retirees, employees and survivors.

GIC On Track

SEPTEMBER 1998 - Officials Feel They Are Off To A Good Start - Officials
with the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) feel they are off to
a “good start” with the implementation of the new market based
reimbursement fee schedule.

GIC Takes Cost Control Steps

JULY 1998 - Members Remain Protected From Balance Billing - In
an effort to gain control over the fast rising cost of health care, the
state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) is taking steps to equalize
payments made to health care providers. A new system will be
implemented by which doctors and hospitals will be reimbursed for their
services.

Pre-Funding Of Retiree Health Benefits Raised

JULY 1993 - Concept New To Public Sector - Throughout
the 1980’s, the Legislature spent much time and money addressing the
issue of the state’s unfunded pension liability. By most accounts,
Massachusetts had one of the largest unfunded pension systems. It was
estimated that there was as much as a $13 billion shortfall between the
future cost of pensions and the ability of the state and local pension
funds to pay those costs. There was much at stake for both the fiscal
solvency of the state and local governments and for public pensioners.
Pension funding legislation received broad support by not only
management and labor groups but by fiscally conservative watchdog
groups such as Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.