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March 23, 2017
Action Center

Friends of Local 76
UnionActive IAFF Newswire
Preparing for the GIC Public Hearing on Proposed Insurance Plan Changes
Posted On: Jan 30, 2017
Preparing for the GIC Public Hearing on Proposed Insurance Plan Changes
Dear Brothers/Sisters:
The Group Insurance Commission (GIC) oversees health insurance plans for thousands of active and retired public employees, including firefighters throughout the state. Insurance plans offered through the GIC are also used as benchmarks by communities that do not participate in GIC offerings. Thus, changes to the GIC plans have an impact on all public employees and retirees.
GIC commissioners have given provisional approval to the following changes for non-Medicare plans:
  • Increase deductibles from $300 to $500 for individuals and from $900 to $1,000 for families; eliminate the lower deductibles for two-member families. Deductibles for Fallon Health Direct Care rise to $550 for individual plans and $1,100 for family plans.
  • Add a prescription drug deductible of $100 for an individual and $200 for a family to all but two of the offered plans.
  • Freeze enrollment in the Tufts Navigator and Fallon Health Select Care plans and continue to freeze enrollment in the Harvard Pilgrim Independent Plan.
  • Increase co-pays for visits to primary-care physicians for members enrolled in the Harvard Pilgrim Independent Plan and Tufts Health Plan Navigator.
  • Approximately 35,000 retirees who are in non-Medicare plans will be subject to these higher deductibles.
Changes in Medicare Plans:
  • Retirees in a Medicare plan will see a doubling in the cost of office visits from $10 to $20, and those in the UniCare Indemnity Plan will see the co-pay for emergency room visits double, from $25 to $50.
On February 1, the GIC Commissioners will hold a public hearing on these changes from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Rabb Hall at the Boston Public Library.
We need stories and testimony that reflect these messages:
  • Cost increases are being unfairly shifted to employees and retirees. The Commonwealth has an obligation to provide affordable and quality health insurance to public employees, setting the example to be followed by all employers.
  • Retirees on fixed incomes should not be subject to these increases.
  • Freezing access to Tufts Navigator and Fallon Health is a “bait and switch” for employees who agreed to join the GIC because those plans were available during their decision-making process and were a large factor in deciding to go into the GIC.
  • Increasing out-of-pocket costs will discourage some from seeking care when necessary.
  • Communities that benchmark their health insurance plans to the GIC offerings may be subjecting employees to even larger cost hikes depending on any existing gaps between current costs and GIC benchmarks.
In Solidarity,
Rich MacKinnon
Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts

IAFF Somerville Fire Local 76
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