Information Technology Enhancements

Online Access for Offline Agencies:  Although most state agencies have access to the GIC’s eligibility system, offline agencies, including housing and redevelopment authorities and municipalities do not.  The GIC’s Information Technology Department developed and rolled out a new web application that allows these offline agencies to change their employees’ coverages.  Additionally, they can now access their GIC bills electronically, which reduces the GIC’s mailing costs and improves member confidentiality.

Combined Billing: Members who pay their premiums via bill instead of payroll or pension deduction, such as those on COBRA, survivors, and employees on leave, would receive up to three bills from the GIC depending on which coverage they had (life/health, Long Term Disability, and dental/vision or retiree dental).  This year, we upgraded our system so members get only one combined bill.  One of the most difficult aspects of the project was to determine how payments would be applied and the corresponding coverage termination policy.  The project was rolled out at the end of January and has resulted in improved understanding of the bills, easier ability to pay with online banking, reduced postage and processing costs, and improved collection of unpaid premiums.  

Correspondence System:   The GIC receives over 1,200 written member inquiries per month.  The Information Technology Department developed and implemented by the end of the fiscal year a new correspondence system that allows these inquiries to be scanned, assigned to particular units and tracked for resolution. 

MyGIC Online Self Service:  Information Technology staff worked throughout the year on developing an all-new, secure online self-service portal, called MyGIC, that will allow employees to view their GIC benefits, and in the future will allow them to change their benefit elections online during Annual Enrollment. 

Federal Grant Awarded

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services offered a grant toward supporting the transformation of the state’s health care payment and delivery systems through a multi-payer model.  The state Executive Office of Health and Human Services asked the GIC to collaborate on the application.  CMS awarded the grant to the state in December, and the GIC received $1.1 million of the award to be used for improving integration of care and provider accountability. During the remainder of the year, staff began the procurement process for a vendor that could study the cost and quality effects of the GIC’s initiatives on new provider payment systems.

Survivor Audit

The GIC has comprehensive procedures in place to verify eligibility before a spouse, former spouse, dependent or survivor can enroll in coverage.  Prior to enrollment, insureds must provide documentation to establish a family or legal relationship to eligible employees and retirees. As part of the GIC’s fiduciary responsibility, and in response to FY13 budget requirements, in the fall the GIC conducted a survivor audit to our 11,200 survivors. This audit sought to determine whether any of these survivors had remarried, and were therefore no longer eligible for GIC coverage.  A series of bright orange mailings were sent to the survivors and a 96% response rate was achieved.  For those who did not respond, coverage terminated, but was reinstated as long as the member certified that he or she had not remarried.  Total net savings from the audit after the mailing and processing costs was $165,000 as there were 33 state survivors who had remarried and not reported their remarriage to the GIC.  Another 13 municipal survivors had remarried and these policies were terminated, resulting in savings to the municipalities.

WellMASS Wellness Pilot Program Helps Members Get Healthy

Wellness is a key strategy to help employers reduce health care costs.  With a large proportion of the population overweight, using tobacco, and not exercising regularly, making changes requires ongoing employer and employee efforts.  In part through use of the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program funds, the GIC was able to launch a limited pilot program in March of 2012 that provides an online portal and dedicated staff to help eligible enrollees get healthier.  Those eligible include employees in the Executive Branch, Constitutional Offices, and the Legislature, and state retirees ages 55-64 and their GIC-covered spouses who are enrolled in a GIC health plan.

Program results for the first year include:

  • Over 2,700 participants in the 200 onsite program offerings, including Lunch ‘N Learn sessions
  • 1,660 employees participated in the Step It Up walking campaign to walk 10,000 steps per day
  • 800 employees participated in the Weight Loss Challenge and collectively lost 1,422 pounds
  • 4,000 employees and retirees completed a personal health assessment; 2,500 of these people were eligible for health coaching by phone, mail and Internet on their health risks, and 1,300 took advantage of this option.

This information provided by the Group Insurance Commission .