Health Insurance

Articles about Health Insurance that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees

Medicare Q & A

Am I Required to Enroll in Medicare?

“By far, this is one of the more frequent questions that I’m asked,” says Association Insurance Coordninator Cheryl Stillman. “Here’s what you should know.”

Insurance Mitigation Funds Revisted

A Sampling of Local Experience

November 2015 Voice: With municipal health insurance reform in 2011, there was a spike in the number of Public Employee Committees (PECs) across the Commonwealth. Currently, some 185 Association members are serving as retiree designees on PECs that negotiate with local officials over health insurance plans.

Medicare Forecast: Part B Premium Going Up For Some

No Social Security COLA Projected For 2016

Editor's Note: In late November, a budget deal was struck between Congress and President Obama which contains to the Medicare law that prevent the servere increase in Medicare Part B premiums that are spoke of in the following story. Read the latest news on this issue here.

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.

New Prescription Plan Coming for GIC's OME Enrollees

Only Medicare Retirees Subcribed to State Unicare Plan Impacted

July 2015 Voice: As of January 1, 2016 retirees enrolled in the state Group Insurance Commission’s (GIC) Optional Medicare Extension (OME) plan will receive their prescription drug benefits through a federal Medicare program known as EGWP.

The acronym, pronounced “Egg-Whip”, stands for Employer Group Waiver Program. Essentially, EGWP is a prescription drug program run by the federal government through Medicare Part D.

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.