Recently, the Group Insurance Commission voted to narrow health insurance carriers for public employees. I share the concerns and frustrations of so many across the Commonwealth and am opposed to this plan and the way it was presented.
The GIC will be holding a meeting next week to reconsider their most recent vote to limit health care offerings. This stems from the large volume of candid feedback from members and stakeholders, and I have registered my opposition as well. I have included an article below from the State House News Service about next week’s meeting and will continue to monitor this issue as news develops.
GIC TO RECONSIDER HEALTH PLAN CONSOLIDATION
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
BOSTON, JAN. 25, 2018…..The Group Insurance Commission, relenting to days of withering criticism over its decision to limit health plan offerings to nearly 450,000 state employees and retirees, plans to reconsider that plan when it meets next week.
The GIC has a meeting scheduled for next Thursday when it was supposed to consider benefit design within the three providers — UniCare, Neighborhood Health and Health New England — that were selected to sell plans through the agency after a procurement process.
The agency now says it will put a motion for reconsideration of the 8-5 vote held Jan. 18 on its agenda for the Feb. 1 meeting.
“As a result of candid feedback from members and stakeholders, the agenda of the next GIC Commission meeting on Thursday, February 1 will include a motion for reconsideration of the recent vote to narrow carriers. While the goal of the GIC action to narrow options was to provide members with continuous coverage in a comparable plan while retaining their networks and doctors, and simultaneously controlling out-of-pocket and premium costs, the GIC recognizes that there is opportunity to better engage stakeholders more directly and robustly in the strategic process moving forward,” GIC Chief of Staff Ashley Maagero Lee said in a statement Thursday morning.
The GIC said that if the motion to reconsider is successful, a second vote will be put on the table to “accept the full list of finalists to the platform,” which would bring Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Tufts Health Plan and Fallon Community Health back into the fold.
The reinstatement of those three Massachusetts-based insurers would prevent roughly 200,000 people from having to choose a new insurance plan, although the GIC has insisted that even with a switch those people would not have lost access to their doctors or networks.
The reversal also removes the possibility that those insurers may have had to resort to layoffs after losing a significant piece of their business.
National Association of Government Employees President David Holway issued a statement Thursday in response to the announcement thanking the five labor representatives on the GIC and many lawmakers — include House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler, House Majority Leader Ron Mariano, Rep. James O’Day, Sen. Cindy Friedman and Sen. Karen Spilka — for speaking out against the changes.
“It is obvious that the Governor heard the footsteps of hundreds of thousands of those effected (sic) by this ill-conceived and non-transparent plan marching to the polls to express their anger towards the Baker administration,” Holway said in the statement.
The NAGE president, however, cautioned, “This reprieve, if voted on, could possibly only be temporary until the Governors re-election bid in November.”