Fiscal Year 2012 was the fourth year of the five-year contracts with our six health plan carriers. As the GIC negotiated rates for the final contract year the goals were to keep cost increases low and not shift additional costs to members. The GIC succeeded on both of these objectives and, in fact, was able to slightly improve benefits for members.
State Employee Health Insurance Re-enrollment and Limited Network Plan Premium Incentive a Huge Success
For Fiscal Year 2012, active state employees who resided in Massachusetts and had GIC health insurance were required to re-enroll in health insurance for coverage effective July 1, 2011. State employees were given the incentive of a three-month premium holiday – free health insurance – if they enrolled in one of the GIC’s six limited network plans. As reported in the Fiscal Year 2011 Annual Report, this major initiative was an overwhelming success. Over 99% of employees re-enrolled in health insurance and 31% elected to save money and chose a less expensive, limited network plan, a dramatic jump from 19% before this effort. (The GIC selected a health plan for the few employees who did not re-enroll to be sure they had health coverage.) During Fiscal Year 2012, these state employees saved in premiums on an average of over $600 for individual coverage and over $1,400 for a family plan. Very few of these employees switched back to the wider network plan during the annual enrollment period. We estimate that the Commonwealth saved $20 million during Fiscal Year 2012 from this initiative.
Tweet! GIC Re-Enrollment Team Honored for Exemplary Public Service
In June of 2012, the Group Insurance Re-enrollment Team was awarded one of the Commonwealth’s 2012 Carballo Awards, the prestigious award given to Massachusetts state employees who personify excellence in public service. The award is named in honor of former Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Manuel Carballo, who exemplified public service at its best. The GIC team successfully implemented the health insurance re-enrollment of over 78,000 state employees, ensuring all employees were enrolled in health insurance coverage with no gaps in coverage. The team’s work included developing customized re-enrollment forms, data screens, and tracking reports, holding a number of health fairs, and collecting, scanning and entering the new plan selections into the GIC’s eligibility system - all in eight weeks.
Tweet! GIC Wins 2011 New England Employee Benefits Council Best Practices Award for Re-enrollment Drive
In December of 2011, the GIC accepted one of six of the New England Employee Benefits Council’s Best Practices award for the re-enrollment drive. The award recognizes employers for innovation in the employee benefits field. The GIC presented an overview of this award-winning program to the over 200 employer and consultant attendees at the NEEBC event.
Lowest Premium Increases in At Least 12 Years
In March of 2012, the GIC announced that it was able to achieve the lowest average health insurance premium increase in over a decade for Fiscal Year 2013. The weighted average rate increase of 1.44% for Employee and Medicare plans combined is better than the Fiscal Year 2012 rate increase of 4.56%. The FY12 increase was achieved through a state employee health insurance re-enrollment and incentive to join limited network plans. The Fiscal Year 2013 GIC rate increases are the lowest achieved since at least Fiscal Year 1999. In comparison, Mercer Consulting’s national survey of employer-sponsored health plans found that employers increased rates for 2012 by 4.1%.
Benefit Changes to Help the Very Sick and Returning Veterans
For annual enrollment, the GIC rolled out a benefit enhancement to help the chronically ill with inpatient hospital copayments limited to one per calendar quarter for all plans not already offering this benefit; copays continue to be waived if readmitted within 30 days.
To help returning veterans, effective February 1, 2012, the GIC changed its policies to enable members returning from a military leave of absence to enroll in the health plan of his or her choice. In the past, returning veterans were required to re-enroll in the health plan they had prior to their military leave of absence, unless they had elected to change plans during the Annual Enrollment period.
Clinical Performance Improvement Initiative Refined
The GIC’s important Clinical Performance Improvement (CPI) initiative continued to evolve during its eighth year. Under this program, tens of millions of physician claims are analyzed for differences in quality and efficiency; members pay lower copays for providers with better quality and/or cost-efficiency scores. During FY12, the GIC added another year of quality data to its analysis, thereby improving the program’s ability to measure physician quality.
The provider community had not previously embraced this project, but the GIC and the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) have re-established closer communications on this project. A member of the MMS joined the CPII Physician Advisory Board, the group of physicians who provide clinical input about proposed changes to the CPII. We also met with a group of physician practice and MMS leaders to discuss the changes planned for the project in FY13. We continue to keep the MMS informed about future enhancements, and in cooperation with the MMS, identify ways to improve physician performance and patient education.
This information provided by the Group Insurance Commission.