Health Insurance

Articles about Health Insurance that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees

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.

LEGISLATURE WEIGHS BUDGET & TAX PROPOSALS

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.

GIC ANNOUNCES FY14 INSURANCE RATES

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.

Retiree Healthcare Takes Center Stage

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.

ASSOCIATION JOINS SENATE CONFERENCE CALL & AFL-CIO FORUM

ASSOCIATION JOINS SENATE CONFERENCE CALL & AFL-CIO FORUM

Warren Opposes Chained CPI

MARCH 1, 2013:  On the day when federal sequestration took effect and with a major retiree healthcare reform bill now pending on Beacon Hill, Association officials wrapped up the week by participating in two important forums: A conference call with Massachusetts’ Senior Senator and participating in the AFL-CIO’s Leadership Conference.

GIC RETAINS RETIREE FAVORITE UNICARE

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.

GOVERNOR FILES HEALTHCARE REFORM BILL

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.

MUNICIPALITIES SAVE $250 MILLION IN HEALTHCARE REFORMS

More Than Double Previous Estimates

FEBRUARY 1, 2013: In the 18-months since the passage of Chapter 69, Acts of 2011, cities and towns have saved an estimated $250 million in health insurance costs.

Known as Municipal Healthcare Reform, Chapter 69 paved the way for municipalities to increase copayments and deductibles up to the level set by the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC). It also allows for cities and towns to join the GIC, if the state plan can provide additional savings.