Health Insurance

Articles about Health Insurance that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees

Survivors Need Help With Insurance Premiums

SEPTEMBER 2000 -
Lag Behind At The Local Level - One of the most neglected fringe benefit options in the cities, towns
and counties of Massachusetts is the contribution toward health
insurance premiums of the surviving spouses of deceased employees and
retirees by their governing authorities. Sadly, 160 of these cities,
towns and counties make no contribution toward the insurance premium of
these spouses.

Drug Costs: A National Crisis

SEPTEMBER 2000 -
What was considered a solution now appears to be a growing national
crisis. In order to contain increasing health care costs, particularly
those related to hospitalization, the push for greater utilization of
prescription drugs was advanced over the past several years. If a
patient could be treated for a condition with medication, costing far
less than hospital care, then why incur the additional cost?

Retirees Outraged Over Prescription Changes

SEPTEMBER 2000 -
Rocky Transition To Express Scripts - It will come as no surprise to members impacted by the Group Insurance
Commission's decision to contract with a new pharmacy benefits manager
(PBM) that the Association has been deluged with calls, letters, and
email from angry retirees.

Berkshire County Insurance Group

JULY 2000 -
Insurance Pool Continues Despite County Abolition - Exactly two years ago, we reported in the Voice on what is claimed to
be the oldest municipal health insurance pool in the Commonwealth - the
Plymouth County Health Insurance Program. Under state law (Chapter 32B)
counties, like Plymouth, can establish a health insurance program and
offer it to the municipalities, as well as authorities, districts and
other subdivisions, in that county.

Dental Passes Senate

JULY 2000 -
Senate budget writers have included our Association’s language to
institute retiree dental coverage within their version of the FY 2001
budget. The language is identical to that used by the House in April,
including $150,000 to conduct the study necessary to get the plan off
the ground.

Retirees Face GIC Drug Changes July 1

JULY 2000 -
Express Scripts To Be New Mail Order Carrier - Members, insured through the state’s Group Insurance Commission, will
have a new pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) as of July 1. This spring,
the GIC voted to replace the current PBM, Merck Medco, with Express
Scripts after a lengthy search process.

Medex: The Private Sector Experience

MAY 2000 -
Non-group Medex subscribers are not as fortunate as municipal retirees
carrying the same Medicare gap insurance. For example, Medex Gold,
which provides the most comprehensive coverage, including prescription
drugs, now costs $314.59 monthly or $936.24 quarterly. Participants are
directly billed by Blue Cross.

Harvard Goes It Alone

MAY 2000 -
After several months of being on the brink of bankruptcy, state
regulators have released Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (HPHC) from state
receivership, permitting HPHC to go it on its own. This turnaround came
as a surprise to retirees and healthcare experts alike.

The Blues Are Back: Increase Membership As HMOs Struggle

MAY 2000 -
The Blues are back! Blue Cross and Blue Shield, once a household name
for health insurance coverage in this state, only to fall victim to the HMO phenomenon of the 80s, has recovered from membership doldrums and is once again a vibrant and growing insurer.

Easthampton Retirees Win Insurance Subsidy, Finally change In Government Was Key

MAY 2000 -
After a thirty-five-year struggle, which included 10 failed ballot
initiatives, city of Easthampton retirees, including teachers, have
finally succeeded in winning a health insurance subsidy.