Health Insurance

Articles about Health Insurance that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees

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.

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.

Indemnity Plan Remains Top Choice

- Enrollment statistics recently released by the state's Group
Insurance Commission (GIC) confirm what many members already know - the
Indemnity Plan is the plan of choice for many retirees, gaining the
most members and retaining its position as the largest GIC plan.

Feds Propose Unequal Insurance Treatment Of Medicare Retirees By Employers

- Commonwealth's Public Retirees Not Affected - You may recall our report, sometime ago, concerning a lawsuit in
federal court by retirees from Erie County, Pennsylvania, who claimed
their Medicare supplement plan violated the ADEA, Age Discrimination in
Employment Act (see January 2001 Voice). Since then, there have been a number of major developments.

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.

Curbs Sought On Drug Industry Influence

Out-Of-Control Price Increases Draw Criticism - In direct response to complaints from retirees and the general public
alike relative to the ever-increasing cost of prescription drugs, the
state Senate is considering legislation that will curb the influence of
the pharmaceutical industry in Massachusetts.

Stow Votes To Pay One-Half Survivors' Health Insurance

- Since the 1980s, there have been several attempts by Town of Stow
retirees and employees to have the town pay 50% of the insurance
premium for survivors, instead of nothing. Just last year, a petition
calling for this, spearheaded by Association member and former
Treasurer-Collector Eila Makey, was presented to the Stow selectmen but
failed to make the town warrant because of time restraints.