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.

This week’s meeting was attended by over thirty people, representing a variety of communities in Central Mass. Our Association’s Shawn Duhamel joined Andrew Powell of the Mass Federation of Teachers as the retiree/employee representatives to the Group. Duhamel and Powell worked closely together throughout 2012 as members of the Special Commission on Retiree Healthcare.

A key theme of the meeting was the Commission’s report and subsequent H59, the Governor’s Healthcare reform proposal. The bill is now before the Joint Committee on Public Service, where a public hearing is expected to take place sometime this fall.

Municipal officials, as well as insurance consultants in attendance, spoke of ongoing efforts to gain control over healthcare costs. Pam Kocker, Director of Local Policy, for the Governor Patrick’s Executive Office of Administration and Finance delivered a report on the status of municipal insurance activities.

“We thank Rob Anderson and Dave Przesiek of Fallon for asking the Association to join the Advisory Group. The more we can work together and find viable solutions that are not simply cost shifting, the better off our local retirees are,” said Duhamel. “After attending the meeting, it is obvious that cities and towns are still actively looking for ways to control local health insurance costs. We have to stay on top of these issues and take nothing for granted.”