Revised on June 20, 2012
What sections of the General Laws must be adopted by a Municipal Employer in order to join the GIC’s health coverage?
Municipal Employers may formally adopt Chapter 32B, Section 19 in order to join the GIC’s health coverage through the Section 19 process. Alternately, they may formally adopt Chapter 32B, Section 21 to join the GIC via Chapter 32B, Section 23 (or to implement plan design changes via Chapter 32B, Section 22).
VIA SECTION 19 (union)
Unionized Municipal Employers decide with their unions and retirees, negotiating together as a Public Employee Committee (PEC), whether to join GIC health coverage. The parties draft a written agreement to join GIC health coverage and send it to the GIC as their notice of intent to join GIC coverage. Receipt of the agreement will start the process for the Municipal Employer’s transfer to GIC health coverage. Agreements must generally be received by the GIC by December 1 of any year to begin work to transfer municipal subscribers to GIC health coverage beginning the following July 1, or by July 1 for coverage beginning the following January 1. However, in Chapter 69 of the acts of 2011, the Legislature provided for additional transfer dates during 2011 and 2012.
For more details about the coalition bargaining process and a model agreement, contact the Metropolitan Area Planning Council at 617/451-2770 or go to their “Health Insurance Action Center” .
VIA SECTION 23 (union)
Unionized Municipal Employers follow a similar procedure to join the GIC via Section 23 as via Section 19, but with two major differences:
- The negotiation phase is limited to 30 days from the date the Public Employee Committee receives formal notice of a proposal from the Municipal Employer; and
- After that 30-day period, if no agreement has been reached, the proposal goes to a municipal health insurance review panel. This panel must order the transfer of enrollees to the GIC if, as measured by guidelines in the statute, the panel finds savings from the transfer to GIC would meet or exceed the savings test in the statute, and would sufficiently mitigate the impact on those negatively affected by the transfer.
In either event (negotiated agreement or panel-ordered transfer), for transfer to be effective, the GIC must receive notice and the Municipal Employers’ full data census (posted on the GIC’s website) by December 1 of any year in order to transfer municipal subscribers to GIC health coverage the following July 1, or by July 1 for coverage beginning the following January 1. (See below for further details on the municipal health insurance review panel process.)
VIA SECTION 19 OR 23 (Non-union)
Non-union Municipal Employers decide as follows: a non-union city, town or district’s Chief Executive Officer decides whether to join GIC coverage; Non-union Municipal Employers must send a letter to the GIC as its notice of intent to join the GIC coverage and the Municipal Employers’ full data census (posted on the GIC’s website) by December 1 (for July 1 coverage) or July 1 (for January 1 coverage) of any year.
What is the composition of the Public Employee Committee (PEC)?
The Public Employee Committee includes a representative of each collective bargaining unit, and a retiree representative designated by the Retired State, County and Municipal Employees Association. The retiree representative will have a 10% vote. The remaining 90% vote is divided proportionally among the bargaining units according to the number of employees in each.
If only some of a Municipal Employer’s employees are unionized, how does the employer determine whether to join GIC coverage?
The unions’ vote determines whether all of the Municipal Employer’s eligible subscribers join GIC health coverage via Section 19 or Section 23. Contact MAPC at 617/451-2770 or visit MAPC’s website, for more information about the approval process.
I heard the notice and transfer dates changed. What are the new dates for notice and commencement of coverage?
As the result of a change in the law in June, 2012, notice and transfer dates were made uniform under Section 19 and Section 23 as follows: a Municipal Employer must notify the GIC by December 1 of its intent to transfer municipal subscribers as of the following July 1, or by July 1 of its intent to transfer municipal subscribers as of the following January 1.
This information provided by the Group Insurance Commission.