GIC urged to seek full funding and stability

GIC hearing on Feb. 5 2015 Somerville Teachers Association President Jackie Lawrence called on the Group Insurance Commission to oppose unfair changes to health insurance.

MTA President Barbara Madeloni and local association leaders testified at the annual Group Insurance Commission public hearing on Feb. 4, arguing against proposed changes in GIC health insurance offerings that could significantly raise costs and substantially alter coverage available to public employees.

Because the GIC is facing a funding shortfall of $160 million to $190 million for the current operating year and needs to address long-term funding stability, it is preparing to choose from options that include plan design changes and higher employee contributions when it meets on Friday, Feb. 13.

The options range from plan design changes that would increase members’ premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses to a conversion of two Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans to Point-of-Service (POS) plans. Plan design changes could have far-reaching effects for all public employees — even those who do not participate in GIC plans — because municipalities may use GIC offerings as benchmarks for their own plans.

Click here for a fact sheet on the options the GIC is considering.

Madeloni testified that the GIC’s budget problems stem from a chronic lack of funding by the state Legislature, and she cautioned the commission against finding a financial remedy by imposing higher costs on the public employees and retirees receiving their health insurance through the GIC.

“Public employees should not be penalized as a result of this lack of funds,” Madeloni said. Click here to read Madeloni's full statement to the commission.

Lexington Education Association President Phyllis Neufeld relayed several stories from her members, detailing the difficulties many of them are already experiencing in paying for health care. Saying that her members feel “betrayed” by the GIC, Neufeld told the commissioners, “Your changes would put such pressure on both active and retired members that health care might be out of their reach. Please don’t let this happen.”

Arlington Education Association President Linda Hanson, Quincy Education Association President Allison Cox and Somerville Teachers Association President Jackie Lawrence also testified. They told commissioners that their communities entered the GIC because of the stability it promised, and they said the changes proposed now undermine that stability.

Click here to ask commissioners to lobby for a supplemental budget for fiscal 2015 that closes the GIC funding gap and adopt a budget for fiscal 2016 that fully funds current benefits for GIC subscribers.

  Action AlertKeep the pressure on the GIC
Please e-mail the commissioners and urge them to oppose unfair changes to health insurance

For updates on the GIC funding situation, visit massteacher.org/gic.