Health Insurance

Articles about Health Insurance that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees

HMOs Drop Medicare Coverage

NOVEMBER 1999 - GIC Weighs Future Options - A
recent health care trend here in Massachusetts and throughout the
country has brought concern to the state's Group Insurance Commission
(GIC). Over the past year, several of the state's premier Health
Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) have eliminated or reduced their
Medicare coverage.

Northbridge Approves Insurance Aid For Survivors: Town To Pay 68%

SEPTEMBER 1999 - Northbridge
town meeting members recentlyapproved an article which allows the town
to contribute 68% toward the health insurance cost of the surviving
spouse of a deceased town employee.

Kaiser Withdraws From Region

SEPTEMBER 1999 - Retirees To Switch Plans - When
you as a member sign up for membership in an HMO, remember - there is
no surefire guarantee that the HMO will still be in business a few
years down the road.

Funding Health Care Costs

MAY 1999 - Move Underway At Local Level - Back
some 6 years ago, we reported on legislation, by then House Public
Service co-chair Kevin Blanchette, to allow funding of health insurance
costs for public retirees (July '93 Voice). "As Public Service
co-chair, Kevin was a good friend of the Association," according to
Legislative Liaison Shawn Duhamel. "He was also very pro-active when it
came to safeguarding retiree benefits over the long term."

GIC Rates To Increase

MAY 1999 - Remain Below National Average - As
was expected, the state insurance rates for FY’2000 will increase for
the third consecutive year. The state’s Group Insurance Commission
(GIC) approved the slight rate hike at their March 5 meeting.

Insurance Win For Leicester

MAY 1999 - Another
town has decided to do the right thing and provide health insurance
coverage for its retirees. Until voters approved section 9A of MGL
Chapter 32B at the town election on April 5, Leicester retirees were
forced to pay 100% of their health insurance costs.

Lynnfield

MAY 1999 - Lynnfield’s
controversial move, to drop the state’s health insurance (GIC) coverage
for its retired teachers and their survivors (and insure them under the
town’s insurance plan) was "indefinitely postponed" by its board of
selectmen last month. While the town’s move, to drop the GIC coverage,
has stalled, it has not been killed outright. Moreover, it raises
serious concerns about similar efforts by other municipalities or
school districts whose retired teachers are insured by the GIC.

Hospitals Take On Gic Payment Plan

MAY 1999 - New Reimbursement Schedule Saves $20 Million - In
response to new cost control measurers put in place by the state's
Group Insurance Commission (GIC), the Massachusetts Hospital
Association has filed legislation to force the state to negotiate
health care rates with each individual hospital across the state.

Prescription Copayments To Increase July 1

MARCH 1999 -
GIC Counters Rising Cost of Drugs - For
the first time in nearly eight years, the state’s Group Insurance
Commission (GIC) has voted to raise the copayment for both the retail
and mail order drug benefits offered through its indemnity plan.

PUBLIC RETIREES ESCAPE DRUG CUT

JANUARY 1999 - HMOs Cap Pharmacy Benefits - In
October, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Tufts Health Plan, Fallon
Community Health Plan, and Blue Cross / Blue Shield of Massachusetts
announced that they would begin to set a dollar limit for their
prescription drug coverage under Medicare, starting January 1, 1999.
Noting the number of phone calls and letters received by the
Association over the past two months, it would appear that members keep
close tabs on health insurance issues.