Saving Collective $19.29 million
BOSTON – Three more municipalities have elected to join the Group Insurance Commission, the state agency that provides health insurance and other benefits to state employees and retirees. The towns of Framingham, East Bridgewater and Middleboro reached agreement with their Public Employee Committees through coalition bargaining and will be joining the Commission for health insurance benefits effective July 1, 2014. These municipalities collectively estimate first year savings at $19.29 million.
“Health care is one of the largest expenses for municipalities and many towns have determined that they can save money by moving their employees and retirees to the GIC,” said Dolores L. Mitchell, the Executive Director of the Group Insurance Commission. “With Municipal Health Reform, municipalities can either join the state’s Group Insurance Commission or make plan design changes in keeping with the GIC’s plan design benchmarks. These savings are very real and help preserve municipal services and jobs.”
A total of 54 municipal entities and school districts will be part of the Commission as of July 1, 2014. The City of Springfield was the first municipality to join the GIC and did so in January of 2007 while the city was in financial distress. The first Municipal Reform legislation was signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick in July of 2007. In 2011, a second municipal reform law allowed for another avenue for municipalities to save on health care benefits. There are slight differences between the two laws on the process for joining and premium contribution options, giving communities and their workers flexibility as part of the coalition bargaining process.
The new municipalities represent over 5,000 additional members for the GIC, which already covers over 232,000 members and almost 413,000 people with the recent addition of the cities of Gloucester and Northampton and the town of North Andover. Under the GIC, enrollees will have a range of employee and Medicare health plan options with six different carriers. “The GIC’s thorough implementation process helps to make the transition very smooth for new municipalities and their enrollees,” said Ms. Mitchell. “We extend a warm welcome to the towns of Framingham, East Bridgewater, and Middleboro and their employees and retirees.”
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 housing and redevelopment authorities' personnel, participating municipalities, and retired municipal employees and teachers in certain governmental units. There are currently over 232,000 members and almost 413,000 people covered by the GIC. A seventeen-member commission representing labor, retirees, municipal management, the public interest, the Administration, and expertise in health economics governs the GIC.
This information provided by the Group Insurance Commission.