Health Insurance

Articles about Health Insurance that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees

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.

State Opens Insurance Enrollment Period

MARCH 2000 - GIC Health Fairs Held From April 8 to May 6 - In
light of the rapidly changing health insurance marketplace, members
insured through the state's Group Insurance Commission are asked to pay
close attention to this year's open enrollment period. The GIC will
hold its annual health fairs April 8 to May 6.

Dental Plan Moves Ahead

MARCH 2000 - Our
attempt to obtain retiree dental coverage during the current
legislative session received a major boost in January after Governor
Paul Cellucci endorsed our plan.

Harvard Pilgrim In Trouble

MARCH 2000 - HMO Now Under State Control - With
the birth of a new year, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (HPHC) has found
itself in severe financial difficulty after registering a $197 million
loss in 1999. The first week of January, it became known that HPHC had
lost $78 million more for the year than had previously been assumed. As
the company teetered on the verge of bankruptcy, state officials and
the Supreme Judicial Court promptly placed HPHC under state