Health Insurance

Articles about Health Insurance that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees

Office Of Patient Protection Now Open

MARCH 2001 - New Agency Created By "Patients' Bill of Rights" Law - Members
are well aware that if they have a problem with a health insurance
claim, they can contact our Insurance Coordinator Cheryl Stillman.
"While I can't guarantee a successful outcome in every case, we will do
everything possible to resolve a member's problem," comments Stillman.

State Opens Insurance Enrollment Period

MARCH 2001 - From
April 7 to May 8, the GIC will hold is annual health fairs. Retired and
active employees are encouraged to attend one of the nineteen fairs
where members can speak with insurance officials about switching their
coverage if they choose. Changes made in each plan's coverage, along
with the retiree's choice of plan, are set to take effect July 1, 2001.

Lexington Coalition Bargaining: Changing Of The Guard

MARCH 2001 - For
over six years, John Walsh, a retired firefighter, has been
representing the Association on the Lexington Health Insurance
Coalition Bargaining Committee. It was just last November that we
reported extensively on the committee in the Voice.

Dental Survey Underway

MARCH 2001 -
As we have been reporting in recent editions of the Voice, the
Association is working with the state's Group Insurance Commission to
develop a retiree dental insurance plan. Since this will be the
Commonwealth's first venture into dental benefits for retirees, a great
deal of time and effort are being put into developing the plan.

GIC Promotes Patient Safety

JANUARY 2001 -
Members, insured through one of the state Group Insurance Commission's
health plans, will soon be a little safer when they seek medical
treatment. For years, little has been done by the insurance industry to
combat what is known as a "preventable adverse event," or what has come
to be known in the popular press as medical errors.

Dental Plan Status

JANUARY 2001 -
As was indicated in the November edition of the Voice, the Association
is working closely with the state Group Insurance Commission (GIC) to
establish dental and vision coverage for retirees insured under one of
the state plans. This development process was established by the
governor and legislature with the goal of having a plan available for
retirees by this July 1. At press time, the retiree survey was nearing
completion and was soon to be randomly mailed to members insured
through the state GIC.

Federal Appeals Court Ruling Stirs Debate

JANUARY 2001 -
Can Insurance Plans Treat Medicare Retirees Differently? - Within retirement circles, attention has focused on a recent decision
handed by a federal court of appeals, stirring debate over its
potential impact on state and municipal health insurance programs here
in the Commonwealth. According to the 3d Circuit Court of Appeals,
health insurance plans, that provide greater benefits to younger
(pre-65) retirees than those eligible for Medicare, violate the federal
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) unless they can show equal
costs for insuring both retiree groups.

Disruptive Health Care Measure Fails

JANUARY 2001 -
Despite the fiscal restraints that will be brought about as a result of
Question 4, real disaster was avoided with the defeat of Question 5.
The ballot question, which was marketed by supporters as a step to rein
in HMOs, would have been a setback to health care in Massachusetts.

Long Term Care: An Overview

LTC Insurance May Be The Answer For Some - When the phrase "long term care" comes up, one usually thinks in terms
of nursing homes. But long term care, or LTC, encompasses much more,
including home health care, services to help an individual perform
daily activities or care in an assisted living facility.

Coalition Bargaining Still Working In Lexington

Protects Insurance Benefits For Retirees/Survivors - Lexington is one of the communities that decided, some years ago, to
accept what was then a new group insurance law known as coalition
bargaining (Section 19, Chapter 32B). Back in 1993, when Section 19 was
enacted, our Association was one of the principal sponsors of the law.