May 2006

$10K Life Eyed For Retirees

MAY 2006 - Romney Said To Oppose Plan - If Romney Administration officials have their way, retired state employees will be excluded from a plan to increase the basic life insurance for state employees to $10,000.

Push On For New COLA Base

MAY 2006 - Schedule Adjustment Can Absorb $16,000 Level - Nearly a decade after landmark legislation established the current law governing the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), Association leaders are urging the Legislature to move forward with a plan to increase the COLA base to $16,000.

State Insurance Surplus In Multi Millions

MAY 2006 - White: 'GIC Should Pay Part B Refund' - Reports coming out of the state's Group Insurance Commission (GIC) indicate that the agency is on track to post a multi-million dollar surplus for Fiscal Year 2006, which ends on June 30.

Health Insurance Ripples Local Budgets

MAY 2006 - Enrollment In State Plan Possible - Desperate to resolve the local health insurance cost dilemma, which has been crippling city and town budgets, labor leaders and municipal government officials are attempting to reach an agreement on legislation that would help pave the way for local retirees and employees to become insured under the state's Group Insurance Commission (GIC), which could possibly lead to significant cost savings for all parties.

State Sets Single Digit Insurance Increase

MAY 2006 - Medicare Retirees Face 5.2% Hike - State Group Insurance Commissioners (GIC) approved an overall increase of 7.5% for its health insurance plans for Fiscal Year 2007, beginning July 1.

Towns Turn To Medicare

MAY 2006 - Retirees Upset Over Mandate - In an apparent effort to reduce their retiree healthcare costs, more and more communities are turning to the Medicare program. Our members have been reporting to us that their municipal officials are proposing the adoption of a local option law which we call "mandatory Medicare."

Prefunding Healthcare: Arlington Establishes Trust To Satisfy GASB

MAY 2006 - Wellesley Approves First Payment Toward Schedule - In a move that foreshadows similar action throughout the Commonwealth in the not-to-distant future, Arlington has established a trust fund to pay future retiree healthcare costs. Arlington's action follows on the heels of similar action by Wellesley (see July '05 Voice).

Greenfield's Part D Plan: Higher Rx Costs For Medicare Retirees

MAY 2006 - Our worst fears, that a town would enroll their Medicare-eligible retirees into a Part D (prescription drug) plan, shifting substantial drug costs onto them, have been realized. Unfortunately, the town of Greenfield appears to have done just that.

GIC Builds Florida Provider Network

MAY 2006 - Balance Billing Concerns Continue - When seeking medical care, members living beyond the borders of Massachusetts often face the threat of being held responsible for thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills.

State Begins MD Ranking System

MAY 2006 - Indemnity/OME Plans Not Impacted - Further complicating an already confusing healthcare system, the state Group Insurance Commission (GIC) is set to begin a controversial new program that creates a ranking system for physicians.