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News


02/08/2018
 
Posted By: John Killoy

This week the GIC to approve plan benefit designs for all health plans for the 2019 Fiscal Year starting on July 1, 2018. The changes in benefit designs were based on the feedback received from AFSCME members and thousands of other public-sector union members across the state.

Highlights of the updated benefits approved by the GIC include:

  • Reducing deductibles across regional and limited network plans (Unicare Community Choice, Health New England HMO, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Primary Choice, Tufts Spirit and Fallon Direct) where possible
  • Reducing some medical co-payments for specialists across all plans
  • Reducing costs to access Telehealth services to $15 across all broad and limited network plans
  • Removing the need for patients to obtain pre-authorization for accessing hospice care benefits

These changes will provide similar or more member-friendly benefit enhancements while also working towards our union's long-standing goals of maintaining access to our members' current doctors and hospitals, controlling costs, and stopping continued cost-shifting to our members.

Yesterday's vote marked another day of steady progress towards these goals.

Last week, in the face of packed public forums, numerous calls, and emails from concerned public employees and their family members, the GIC voted 12 - 2 to reverse an earlier vote that would have terminated three health insurance carriers covering over 200,000 members. The February 1st vote by the GIC board ensured that all current providers will continue to provide coverage in the next fiscal year.

The reversal was a victory for working people and we believe the attention it generated improves our position as we fight for long-term reforms at the GIC including increasing the amount of labor representatives on the commission.

The next critical vote by the GIC will take place on February 22nd when the commission will vote on actual health plan rates and premiums for the coming year. AFSCME Council 93, along with other public-sector unions, are aggressively pushing the GIC to push for the best possible rates for our members.

Once plans and rates have been finalized, the GIC will move to the Annual Open Enrollment period, which provides members with an opportunity to review all plans available and choose their plan for the upcoming fiscal year.

The GIC will hold a number of Health Fairs across Massachusetts to answer members' questions and provide guidance to help members choose the best plan for themselves and their families. CLICK HERE for a list of information sessions to be held across the state during the open enrollment period of Wednesday, April 4 to Wednesday, May 2.



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AFSCME Council 93

AFSCME Council 93 represents more than 45,000 state, county and municipal employees in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.

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