Health Insurance

Articles about Health Insurance that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees

GIC OME Subscribers: Do Not Opt Out of SilverScript Plan

Only Impacts Certain Medicare Enrollees

NOVEMBER 21, 2015: Members who are insured under the state Group Insurance Commission’s (GIC) Option Medicare Extension (OME) plan will have a new prescription drug provider as of January 1, 2016.

As the GIC and our Association have been reporting for nearly a year, prescription coverage under the OME plan is being transferred SilverScript. Under federal law, retirees must be given the opportunity to “Opt Out” of the new drug plan.

Budget deal blunts, but doesn’t erase, increase in Medicare premiums

The tentative budget agreement forged by congressional leaders and the Obama administration will ward off a historic spike in Medicare premiums for the coming year, but it will nevertheless require nearly one in three older Americans to pay 17 percent more in monthly premiums for doctors’ visits and other outpatient care.

Federal Budget Deal Contains Medicare Fix

Federal Budget Deal Contains Medicare Fix

Warren, Neal, Clark, McGovern and Tsongas Help Protect Retirees

OCTOBER 27, 2015: The federal government is about to come to the aid of public retirees who have been bracing for a major increase in Medicare Part B premiums for 2016.

No Social Security COLA for 2016

Medicare Rates May Increase for Some Retirees

OCTOBER 9, 2015: A flat Consumer Price Index (CPI) means there will be no COLA increase under Social Security for 2016. The CPI-W is the federal standard used to calculate inflation.

Since 1987, a national debate has raged as to whether or not the CPI-W is an accurate gauge for retirees. Many, including our Association, feel a more accurate measure is the CPI-E (Elderly), which looks to inflationary pressures such as healthcare costs that impact retirees on a larger scale.

Deep Concerns Over GIC Insurance Costs

Association Initiative Would Lower Expense Cap

MAY 2015 VOICE: After five-years of low cost growth and medical inflation, retiree costs with the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) are set to jump come July 1, 2015. The sharp increase in what some retirees will be forced to pay for healthcare has resulted in an Association legislative proposal seeking to lower the cap on out-of-pocket costs.

Governor Baker Supports FY15 COLA

Also Maintains State Retiree Insurance % In Budget Proposal

MAY 2015 VOICE: In his first budget proposal, Governor Charlie Baker has proposed a full 3% COLA for state and teacher retirees to be paid beginning in July on the existing $13,000 base.

Baker is the first Republican governor since Jane Swift to support retiree COLAs. Former Governor Mitt Romney failed to provide for a retiree COLA in each of his four annual budget proposals.

New Law to Strip Social Security Numbers From Medicare Cards

WASHINGTON — Concerned about the rising prevalence and sophistication of identity theft, most private health insurance companies have abandoned the use of Social Security numbers to identify individuals. The federal government even forbids private insurers to use the numbers on insurance cards when they provide medical or drug benefits under contract with Medicare.

Agreement Between GIC and U-Mass Medical

Open Enrollment Begins

APRIL 7, 2015: At the proverbial 11th hour, U-Mass Medical Group agreed to a new contract with the state’s Group Insurance Commission and its basic indemnity plan carrier, UniCare.

For months U-Mass Medical had baulked at agreeing to a new UniCare contract, despite repeated attempts by the GIC and UniCare officials to broker a deal. The dispute was reportedly due to a disagreement over reimbursement rates paid to U-Mass. Officials claimed that the rates offered by the GIC through UniCare were too low.

Blue Cross vastly expands quality-based payment systems

The Massachusetts health care industry’s traditional system of paying doctors for every office visit, test, and procedure may be nearing its end.


Governor Proposes Higher Employee Contributions

MARCH 5, 2015: Monthly insurance premiums for the 425,000 enrollees of the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) will increase starting in June.

The increase in monthly premiums is the result of higher medical inflation across nearly all GIC plans. Essentially, the price of medical care and prescription drugs is once again on the rise.