GIC Votes 12-2 to Undo Health Plan Consolidation

According to our friends at State House News Service – Just in;

GIC VOTES 12-2 TO UNDO HEALTH PLAN CONSOLIDATION
Upending a controversial move to cut three carriers from the health insurance menu available to public employees, the Group Insurance Commission voted as forecast on Thursday to reconsider its Jan. 18 vote. The board two weeks ago voted 8-5 with two abstentions to eliminate Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Tufts Health Plan and Fallon Community Health as carriers, sparking an outcry from public employee unions and elected officials who expressed concern about GIC members losing access to their health care providers. Culling the insurance carrier offerings would have saved more than $20 million while maintaining comparable coverage and allowing members to continue seeing their doctors with potentially lower out-of-pocket expenses, according to GIC officials. “I don’t think it takes a political expert to conclude our process was flawed,” said Melvin Kleckner, who voted with the majority on Jan. 18, and on Thursday moved to reconsider that earlier vote. At a meeting held in the Transportation Building, the GIC board voted 12-2 to undo its earlier decision. Valerie Sullivan, the board chairwoman, and Tamara Davis opposed the motion to reconsider. “I hope going forward we can commit to a better process next year,” said Timothy Sullivan, who represents the Massachusetts Teachers Association on the GIC and said board members should have more time before making such weighty decisions. Sullivan opposed the earlier decision to cut the health plans. The move to reconsider returns the GIC to a decision about how to move forward with plans for its members. The meeting continued after the vote Thursday with a discussion about the commission’s options. – Andy Metzger/SHNS

GOOD NEWS FROM GIC: STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE:

GIC’S “OPTION B” RESTORES THREE INSURERS TO PLAN OPTIONS
Scrapping its much-maligned move to cull the number of health insurance carriers available to public employees, the Group Insurance Commission decided Thursday to go with “Option B.” The new approach gives GIC members six commercial carriers and four Medicare carriers, as opposed to the three commercial carriers and two Medicare carriers under an earlier approach the commission approved in a Jan. 18 vote, according to the GIC. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Tufts Health Plan and Fallon Community Health have all been reinstated as GIC insurance carriers. The board voted 12 to 2 to switch to Option B. Commissioners Christine Clinard and Tamara Davis voted against the motion and said they continued to favor the earlier approach. While the earlier approach would have saved about $21 million, according to the GIC, Option B will save about $1 million. The new approach means the vast majority of members will be able to keep their health insurers, according to GIC officials. Tim Sullivan, who holds the Massachusetts Teachers Association slot on the GIC board, said the most important work will take place at the commission’s next meeting when it takes up plan design. – Andy Metzger/SHNS

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