Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Executive Office for Administration and Finance
Press Release
Contact: Alex Zaroulis (ANF) – 617-727-2040
                      

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENTS OF NEW COMMISSIONERS TO THE GROUP INSURANCE COMMISSION

BOSTON – Thursday, February 23, 2012 -- Governor Deval Patrick today announced Melrose Mayor Robert J. Dolan and Dr. Neil Minkoff as commissioners of the Group Insurance Commission (GIC), the state agency that provides health and other benefits to Commonwealth employees, retirees and their families and health-only benefits to participating municipalities.

“I am proud to welcome both Mayor Dolan and Dr. Minkoff as Commissioners of the Group Insurance Commission,” said Governor Patrick. “The wealth of experience and leadership skills they will bring to the GIC will help deliver on the promise of providing quality health care benefits for our state and municipal workers and their families while achieving real, sustainable savings for the Commonwealth.”

“Mayor Dolan has been a tremendous local leader and municipal manager and Dr. Minkoff has a proven track record of experience in his field,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. “Their knowledge and experience will be an added value to the Group Insurance Commission as we work towards containing health care costs and providing employees and their families with quality care and benefits.”

Since taking office, the Patrick-Murray Administration has undertaken an aggressive strategy to control health care costs while providing accessible high quality care for the Commonwealth’s residents. Spending in state health care programs has grown by double digits since FY 2008, while other areas such as local aid, higher education, public safety, environmental protection services and economic development have all been reduced. This strategy aims to leverage the state’s immense purchasing power to be a force for rewarding models that provide cost-effective, high-quality coverage and care to those who rely on state health insurance and better coordinate government’s health care purchasing decisions.

In FY 2012 the GIC completed an aggressive cost containment strategy to control growth in insurance rates and to incent employees to move to lower cost plans. To date, 30 percent of active employees are enrolled in lower cost plans, saving the Commonwealth more than $20 million this year. The employees that moved to the lower cost plan in FY 2012 saved on average over $600 for an individual and more than $1,400 for a family plan.

In addition, municipal health care reform, signed into law by Governor Patrick in July 2011, is already helping municipalities achieve significant savings. So far more than 80 communities have taken steps to address their health care costs in one of several ways: reaching agreement through traditional bargaining, using the new reform’s decision-making process to make changes, adopting the new local option reform or scheduling local votes for the coming months. The reform is currently on track to far exceed the initial estimate of $100 million in savings for local governments statewide.  

“The state’s new fiscal reality demands that we look toward creative solutions to controlling health care costs while continuing to provide quality health care,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez. “Mayor Dolan and Dr. Minkoff’s guidance will be highly valuable to helping the state achieve this outcome and I look forward to working with them.”

“I am honored by this appointment and look forward to representing the cities and towns of Massachusetts as a GIC commissioner," said Mayor Dolan. “Melrose was the first city to voluntary join the GIC in 2009 and we have just renewed for three additional years in 2012. Our employees, since joining the GIC, have benefited from excellent care and coverage and taxpayers have benefited from excellent management and better controlled costs. I look forward working with this exceptional team as the GIC expands its scope to cover communities throughout Massachusetts.”

Mayor Dolan will fill the Massachusetts Municipal Association seat on the Commission, previously held by Richard Kelliher, former Town Administrator of Brookline. Dolan has served as mayor of Melrose since 2002. A Melrose High School graduate, Mayor Dolan has been actively involved in the city, serving on the School Committee and Board of Aldermen. Prior to being elected mayor, Dolan was the assistant executive director for Parkside Senior Services and the director of housing and community services for the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center.

“Being named to the GIC is an honor for me,” said Dr. Minkoff. “The GIC has been a real driver for change and improvement in healthcare in the Commonwealth and serves as an example to both other states and private payers and I will work hard to live up to the high standards that have been set by my predecessors.”

Dr. Minkoff is the founder of FountainHead HealthCare, a health care consulting firm with a variety of health care and pharmaceutical company clients. Prior to FountainHead, Dr. Minkoff was the medical director for network medical management and pharmacy for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, where he worked for five years.  Previously, Dr. Minkoff served as the associate medical director of Partners Community Healthcare, Inc.  Dr. Minkoff trained in internal medicine at the Lahey Clinic and practiced as an internist. He is the author and editor of multiple publications and has served on a number of advisory panels and boards, including as co-chair of America’s Health Insurance Plans’ Specialty Pharmaceutical Committee, a board member of Mass Health Quality Partners, and the HEDIS Expert Pharmacy Panel.

“Mayor Dolan has been a strong supporter of the Group Insurance Commission and can represent the interests and concerns of the Commonwealth’s cities and towns with personal knowledge about their needs, as well as understanding of the commission’s operations,” said GIC Executive Director Dolores Mitchell. “Dr. Minkoff knows the commission from the dual perspectives of a physician and director of a major health plan and I am looking forward to working with both of them.”

The GIC was established by the Legislature in 1955 to provide health, life and other benefits to state employees, retirees and their dependents. The GIC also covers certain municipal enrollees, housing and redevelopment authority personnel and retired municipal teachers in certain cities and towns. There are currently over 200,000 subscribers and nearly 375,000 people covered by the GIC. A fifteen-member commission representing labor, retirees, municipal management, the public interest, the Administration and expertise in health economics governs the GIC.

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