Health Insurance

Articles about Health Insurance that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees

Quincy Retirees Win Dental Coverage

Plan Was 4 Years In The Making - City of Quincy retirees have won a rare benefit for municipal retirees
- dental insurance. Mayor James Sheets has agreed to extend the choice
of Delta Dental or Delta Care HMO dental plans to retirees effective
this October 1.

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.

State Sets Insurance Premiums: HMO Rates Skyrocket

MAY 2000 -
What a difference a decade makes! In 1990 HMOs were the new darlings of
the state’s Group Insurance pool. During a period when the traditional
indemnity plan was being labeled as a “budget buster,” state insurance officials began to rely heavily on the
low cost managed care plans. At that time, then-Governor Michael
Dukakis was out front in praising HMO membership.

House Endorses Dental Plan

MAY 2000 -
Retirees are one step closer to obtaining full dental and vision
coverage after the House endorsed the Association’s plan in the annual
state budget. If the Senate includes the plan in their budget, members
insured with the state’s Group Insurance Commission will have the much
needed coverage beginning on July 1, 2001.