GIC Healthcare Bill signed by Governor

On July 14, 2011, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the GIC Healthcare bill which included several key points of his own interest.

By Andrew Firestone

The long-discussed and highly controversial Group Insurance Commision Healthcare bill was signed into law Tuesday, July 12, after several months of debate. This bill gives cities and towns the opportunity to sign onto the GIC, thus lessening the total healthcare costs by $100 million across the state. Public labor unions had been wary, and many officials on the state and national level had spoken against curbing union rights. Governor Deval Patrick personally added four amendments to the bill, which were made to lessen costs on the citizens.

The first included, changing how funds would effect especially vulnerable peoples, such as retirees, employees with major health issues and low-income workers, so that cities would have to set aside up to a quarter of the money saved in the first year to offset impact to those who apply. The second requires municipalities to prove that could save at least five percent in switching to GIC. The third freezes any increase to percentages retirees would pay until the middle of 2014, and the final amendment was to clarify that cities cannot unilaterally change any coverage.

The new bill gives public unions 30 days to negotiate, then transfers the issues to a review board, with representatives from the union, the city and the State. The main change through the whole debate is that the bill eliminates collective bargaining from the table.

One state representative who spoke on the issue was Representative Denise Provost, who said that the new amendments “made everybody happy.” The bill in its final form also won support from the Massachusetts Municipal Association.


5 Responses to “GIC Healthcare Bill signed by Governor”

  1. shane says:

    GIC will cost people thousands in co-pays. If you don’t believe me, ask those that are currently under the plan. The city continues to spend money then revert to the GIC health care plan to cover the gap in the budget. From a citizens perspective, its probably good. From the workers perspective,its brutal. The city and state are ruining the reason why people took state and city jobs. (benefits, healthcare, pension) City workers make less money in the hopes to have good benefits. Times have changed.

  2. Rego says:

    The mayor is tyring to push the GIC down unions throats. I hope that he agrees to negotiate a more reasonable plan. We are willing to work with him, but we need his participation. According to the collective bargaining agreement, he is going to have to give and take. He can’t always have the whole pie. Please think about our families.

  3. j. connelly says:

    I have GIC, yes the co-pays are very costly. GIC wrongly rates your co-pay based upon their judgement of who they consider to be in what category. In other words if you have an M.D. who has been practicing for 30 years they may rate your co-pay $5.00/visit. If you have an M.D. who has been practicing for 10-15 years they may rate your co-pay @ $25.00-$30.00/visit. My co-pay is rated at $30.00/visit, yet when my M.D. was off & I saw an associate (M.D. for 25 years) who specializes in something else, my co-pay was $15.00.

    GIC is the only health insurance carrier that practices this wrongful co-pay action. They also recently changed their Rx plan. Previously I paid $50.00 for a brand name Rx (no generic is available). The new plan I now pay $110.00 for the Rx.

    While GIC has some good points, if you arise to a situation, like before an operation where you have to go for multiple visits before/after, you can end up shelling out four hundred or more in co-pays.

    I can understand the public employees frustration as some years they gave up pay raises in order to have better insurance. Now what they agreed to in the past has been wrongfully compromised.

    The administration & BOA lose credibility by preaching how financially tough things are, yet neither the mayor, his department heads, etc & BOA have taken meaningful paycuts themselves while laying off the workers who really provide services to the citizens.

    The unions statewide should sue for breach of contract and get back the raises that they gave up for better insurance benefits, since the state/municipalities are reneging on the prior agreements.

  4. Hillson says:

    As has been stated before, don’t trust Joe the Phony Curtatone.. His whole agenda is self promotion and creating jobs for supporters, contributors, and cronies. He has done a number of one eighties on issues such as civil service, etc.. Beware!

  5. Judas says:

    The co-pays are going to outway the original cost savings in the long run. At the end of each year, for the most part, employees will be paying alot more for healthcare. The proposal that is being pitched by politicians is fuzzy math. Its sound good upfront, but its going to be very expensive. Start saving your money because were going to end up paying through the nose…..

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