GIC UPDATE

By Christopher Nunnally, LIA

Chris Nunnally is an Account Executive with Group Benefits Strategies.

Chris has been working in insurance and benefits his entire career. He was formerly the Director of Broker Sales for Teladoc. Prior to that, he was a Sales Representative for Sun Life Financial and New York Life where he gained extensive knowledge of Employee Benefits and Stop Loss Insurance.

The Group Insurance Commission (GIC) was established by the Legislature in 1955 to provide and administer health insurance and other benefits to the Commonwealth’s employees, retirees, and their dependents. The City of Springfield would later become the first municipality to enroll in the state’s health insurance plans beginning January 1, 2007. Today, 61 public entities are part of the state-run group health insurance plan.

Municipality’s rationale for joining the GIC is to save money on healthcare cost, alleviate the burden of administrating a health plan, and offer a wide choice of insurance plans. Today there are 6 carriers offering 12 plans including several prescription drug choices.

Earlier this year the GIC froze enrollment in the Tufts Navigator and Fallon Health Select plans leaving fewer choices available to members. This is in addition to the already frozen Harvard Pilgrim Independence plan. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, a popular carrier among many municipalities, is not offered by the GIC.

The GIC’s current consultant recently presented initial recommendations for the future. In short, the recommendations are to limit prescription drug choice to one PBM and explore the further narrowing of its carrier and plan options. Wide choice in plan designs with several carriers that once was a hallmark of the GIC will give way to fewer plan designs and fewer carriers, again leaving its members with fewer healthcare choices available to them.

It’s a new day in the GIC and municipalities will have to ask, “Is it time to give or take control of their healthcare future?”