Health Insurance

Articles about Health Insurance that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees

Following Packed Hearing H59 Under Review

Following Packed Hearing H59 Under Review

2013 Legislative Session Winds Down

NOVEMBER 12, 2013: Hundreds of public employees from across all walks of state and local government made their concerns known at a packed public hearing on retiree healthcare reform on October 31st.

The hearing, on H59, was held before the Joint Committee on Public Service. Chaired by Senator William Brownsberger (D-Belmont) and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (D-North End), the Public Service Committee is now conducting a thorough review of the bill.

RETIREE HEALTHCARE REFORM REENTERS SPOTLIGHT

Public Hearing on H59 Thursday

OCTOBER 28, 2013: Arguably the biggest issue to come before the legislature during the current two-year session reenters center stage on Beacon Hill this week, when H59, the much watched Retiree Healthcare Reform proposal, receives a public hearing.

HEALTH EXCHANGE KICKOFF: No Impact On Current Insurance Plans

OCTOBER 1, 2013: Today marks the nationwide kickoff of the new health insurance exchanges, the main component of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly called Obamacare. Between now and December 15, individuals can sign up for one of the health insurance plans being offered through their state’s exchange, with insurance coverage

GIC OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS DROP 3.8%

SEPTEMBER 2013 VOICE: In its second annual report on out-of-pocket costs (OPC), the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) has found that the non-premium costs borne by retirees and employees actually dropped 3.8% between FY11-12.

The $77 million savings lowered the average OPC to $1,030 per enrollee. OPC includes copayments and deductibles paid when accessing health insurance benefits. It does not include insurance premiums and the cost of over the counter drugs that are not covered by insurance.

ASSOCIATION BILLS ADVANCE

H59 Retiree Insurance Reform Eyed For Fall

SEPTEMBER 2013 VOICE: The Joint Committee on Public Service has favorably released a key bill of particular importance to public retirees.

Under the direction of Co-Chairmen, Senator Will Brownsberger and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, the Committee unanimously advanced legislation aimed at correcting Option B & C pensions for pre-July 2004 retirees (H2354). Also, among the bills heard by Public Service, is our legislation which increases basic state life insurance benefits from $5,000 to $10,000 (H2288).

HALLOWEEN HEARING SET FOR RETIREE HEALTHCARE REFORM

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.

FALL EYED FOR HEALTH REFORM HEARING

Public Service Weighing Association Proposals

JULY 26, 2013: September looks to be when the legislature will begin to actively consider H59, Governor Deval Patrick’s much anticipated Retiree Healthcare Reform proposal. As employees and retirees are well aware, the bill has been awaiting action before the Joint Committee on Public Service since filed by the governor in February.

A FOLLOW UP: FOR-PROFIT HOSPITALS

JULY 2013 VOICE: In our May Voice, we opened the door for discussion on the concept of for-profit hospitals in Massachusetts. Specifically, we referred to the Steward Health Care System, which surprisingly now owns eleven hospitals in our strongly unionized, socially sensitive state.

ASSOCIATION JOINS INSURANCE ADVISORY GROUP

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.

BILL WOULD ALLOW FREE REIGN ON DENTAL PRICING

Association Opposes ‘Anti-Consumer’ Proposal

JUNE 13, 2013: A bill that would allow dentists to negate contractual agreements with insurance companies that offer discounted pricing on dental care is now pending before the Joint Committee on Financial Services. The proposal, if passed into law, would allow dentists free reign to set prices on dental services at any level they choose, once a patient exhausts their annual dental insurance benefit.