Health Insurance

Articles about Health Insurance that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees

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.

Is Obamacare Too Complicated to Succeed?

The Affordable Care Act has been under siege since before it even had a name. Some on the right saw it as government overreach. Some on the left considered it better for insurance companies than for consumers. As many of the law’s provisions take effect over the next year, we’re hearing from both sides all over again. This time the theme is that the law is too complex.

GIC Rates Again Beat Trends

3.5% Increase Below State National Averages

MAY 2013 VOICE: 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.

Governor Files Retiree Healthcare Reform

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.

For Profit Hospitals Stake Claim In Mass

MAY 2013 Voice: A glaring taste of corporate America has arrived in socially conscious Massachusetts in the form of for-profit hospitals that are now doing business in our state.

Over the past two years, eleven hospitals in Eastern Mass. have been bought out by Steward Health Care Systems.

RETIREE HEALTHCARE REFORM BILL ON HOLD

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.

Talk of Medicare Changes Could Open Way to Budget Pact

New York Times

By JACKIE CALMES and ROBERT PEAR
Published: March 28, 2013

WASHINGTON — As they explore possible fiscal deals, President Obama and Congressional Republicans have quietly raised the idea of broad systemic changes to Medicare that could produce significant savings and end the polarizing debate over Republican plans to privatize the insurance program for older Americans.