Breaking News

HEALTHCARE COMMISSION ENDORSES MASSIVE $15-$20 BILLION REFORM

Retiree Protections Include Contribution Rate “Freeze”

DECEMBER 20, 2012: Following nine months of lengthy meetings, detailed analysis and intense negotiations the Special Commission on Retiree Healthcare completed its work today with an 11-1 vote to endorse a proposal that, if passed into law, will save Massachusetts taxpayers at least $15-$20 billion over the next thirty years.

STATE RETIREMENT BOARD MOVES TO NEW HOME

STATE RETIREMENT BOARD MOVES TO NEW HOME

NOVEMBER 26, 2012: It was a busy Thanksgiving weekend for the staff of the State Board of Retirement who were engaged in the process of moving to their new home at 1 Winter Street in downtown Boston.

WINCHESTER RETIREE HEALTH INSURANCE UNDER ATTACK

NOVEMBER 19, 2012: Winchester retirees won’t be thinking kindly of the town’s board of selectmen this Thanksgiving after reading a letter from Town Manager Richard Howard about the future of their health insurance. That’s because the letter reported on the selectmen’s unanimous approval of insurance changes, presented to them by Howard earlier this month, that are aimed solely at dramatically increasing the health care costs for retirees. Howard was the mayor of Malden for approximately 17 years before being named to Wilmington’s top job by the selectmen.

MEDICARE ANNOUNCES $5 PART B INCREASE

NOVEMBER 19, 2012: Medicare has announced that the standard Medicare Part B premium will increase by $5 or approximately 5% in 2013.  The increase sets the new monthly Part B premium at $104.90.

This represents a smaller increase than had been projected by health care economists, who believed the increase would register at close to $9 a month. In 2012, Medicare Part B enrollees paid $99.90 a month.

With Social Security benefits set to increase by 1.7% in 2013, the $5 Medicare increase represents nearly 25% of the average COLA.

Easthampton Postpones Insurance Action

NOVEMBER 8, 2012: Last night, the Easthampton City Council postponed any action on Mayor Tautznik’s proposal to adopt Sections 21-23 under which the mayor wants to negotiate a new insurance contract. The Council instructed Melissa Zawadzki, the city’s finance director, to provide the cost of entering into an insurance agreement with available plans that are available. She will then report back to the Council.

EASTHAMPTON EYES INSURANCE REFORMS

NOVEMBER 7, 2012: Easthampton – The nine-member Easthampton City Council will meet tonight, November 7, and vote on a proposal by Mayor Michael Tautznik to accept Sections 21-23 of Chapter 32B for purposes of negotiating a new health insurance agreement with the city’s employees and retirees.

It is reported that 2 members of the Council’s 3-member Subcommittee on Insurance are opposed to accepting Sections 21-23, while the chairman is in favor of acceptance. Sections 21-23 were a major component of Chapter 69, the Municipal Healthcare Reform law passed in 2011.

BIG WEEK FOR HEALTHCARE ON BEACON HILL ENDS

GIC & Special Commission Meetings Held

OCTOBER 26, 2012: On Tuesday, the Special Commission on Retiree Healthcare held its 5th meeting in six months, as it began to outline its report to be issued by December 20, 2012.

The Commission’s legislative mandate is to explore the means to reduce state and municipal retiree unfunded healthcare liabilities. Actuaries have projected the state’s 30-year unfunded liability at $16 billion, while municipal liabilities come in at $30 billion.

DISABILITY PANEL HOLDS PUBLIC HEARINGS

OCTOBER 19, 2012: Disability pensions, always a cutting-edge source of press articles, mostly negative, was the subject under discussion at a public hearing of the Special Commission on Disability Pensions in Worcester yesterday.

This was the second such hearing this week. This first was held on Tuesday the 16th at the State House.

Yesterday’s hearing, which was held at the UMass Medical School was opened by a full-scale presentation by leaders of the 4,500 member Mass. Correction Officers Federation Union (MCOFU).

GIC TO SAVE $1.29 BILLION OVER 5 YEARS

Cost Containment RFP Seeks To Reshape Health Plans

OCTOBER 11, 2012: Phase 2 of Health Care Reform is now well underway in Massachusetts, with the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) delivering the opening salvo in the battle over healthcare cost containment.

How Insurers Can Help

How Insurers Can Help

New York Times Editorial

October 1, 2012: Private insurance companies should be leading the way in the struggle to control health care costs. They know about every contact a patient has with the health care system and can see how much is wasteful or redundant. By altering the way they pay doctors and hospitals, they can potentially push providers to reduce costs, improve quality and even transform the whole culture of American medicine.