Health Insurance

Articles about Health Insurance that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees

Association Representative Takes Seat On Methuen's Insurance Coalition

MARCH 2003
- "We're pleased to announce that Connie Childs has agreed to take our
Association's seat on Methuen's newly established coalition bargaining
committee for health insurance, "reports Insurance Coordinator Cheryl
Stillman. "Connie was our clear choice, bringing a wealth of knowledge
and experience to the coalition." (See January Voice for more details on the coalition.)

AG Reilly Slams Pharmacies

MARCH 2003
- Drug Tax Remains In Dispute - Amidst the controversy surrounding the new "tax" placed on
prescription drugs, Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly has
ordered pharmacies within the state to stop misleading consumers over
the issue.

GIC Members Can Choose Not To Use S.S. Number

- When the FY'03 budget became law, there was a provision which
received little fanfare, but may be of great interest to our members
insured by the state's Group Insurance Commission (GIC). As part of the
GIC's budget, the agency is required to issue an enrollee, if they
request, a separate identification number instead of their Social
Security number.

Check On Local Insurance Advisory Committee

- Back when coalition bargaining became law in '93, another important
change in the municipal health insurance law (Chapter 32B), which our
Association also sponsored, was enacted. Communities, which have
adopted Chapter 32B, must establish an insurance advisory committee
(IAC) to review health and life insurance plans and make

Coalition Bargaining: Offers Innovative Approach To Local Health Insurance

- Methuen Adopts Local Option Law - As communities tackle the challenge of escalating costs in order to
maintain quality health insurance for its retirees and employees, they
may take a long, hard look at an Association sponsored law that has
been on the books for almost 10 years. And some municipalities, like
Methuen, may in fact adopt that law which is commonly referred to as
coalition bargaining.In
1993, we heralded the passage of coalition bargaining - a local option
law which offered an innovative approach toward establishing a
municipality's group health insurance plans. "Coalition bargaining
provides a collaborative process in which municipal retirees, employees
and officials would be working together to develop mutually agreed-upon
health insurance plans," according to Legislative Chairman Bill Hill.

Swift Hits Retirees... Again

- Parting Shot Slashes Medicare Refund - With her tumultuous term as acting governor coming to a close, Jane
Swift has slashed $28.8 million from the state's Group Insurance
Commission's budget. The funds represent the 2003 Medicare Part B
reimbursement due to be paid to retirees, who are insured under the
state plan, in late August of 2003.

Health Insurance Pool Begins Second Decade Of Operation

- Having just completed its tenth anniversary, the health insurance
pool, known as the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association
(MIIA) Health Benefits Trust. MIIA is the insurance arm of the
Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA).

Medicare Refund Comes Up Short

- Additional Funds Sought - Members who are enrolled in Medicare Part B and are insured through
the state's Group Insurance Commission (GIC), found their annual refund
checks a little lighter than anticipated.

Association Opposes Town's Position On Medicare Part B Penalty

- Law Requires Towns To Pay Entire Penalty - Retirees, who are required by their town to enroll in Medicare (Parts
A and B), may be penalized if they are over 65 when they are told to do
this. That's because the federal government assesses a penalty against
an individual who is over 65 and pays, for the first time, a Medicare
Part B premium - a penalty which equals 10% of the Part B premium for
each year that the retiree is over 65 when he makes his first payment.

Long Term Care Update

- For now, the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) has decided to place on
hold any in-depth study to determine the feasibility of a long term
care (LTC) insurance program for state retirees and employees. GIC's
decision came after review of a preliminary LTC report by its
consultants, Boston Benefit Partners.