GIC-like details

Posted by Jeremy Shulkin

As part of City Manager Michael O’Brien’s budget presentation last night he offered some specifics in the GIC-like health insurance plans he wants all municipal unions to switch to before the start of FY 2012 (July 1, 2011).

Three new health care plans have been created: a new Blue Cross/Blue Shield network, Worcester Direct and two tiers of Worcester Advantage, both of which are Fallon plans. While the chart shows specific values for coverage this is all still subject to approval by the Insurance Advisory Committee, a group made up of local municipal union heads.

(Clicking on the image makes it legible.)


Through negotiations with Fallon and UMass the city brought down premium costs while, depending on the plan, copays either held steady or increased.  Deductibles are offered where they previously were not. Diagnostic services, previously covered in full, now have out of pocket expenses. Premium-free incentives are also being offered to lure employees to the new Worcester plans.

In talking to various union heads over the past few weeks, one major sticking point for them is whether or not these are considered cost saving measures or “cost shuffling” measures. That is, they need to believe that money is genuinely being saved rather than the city just moving expenses on to the municipal workers. Of course, if they can’t come to an agreement, O’Brien and Superintendent Boone made it very clear last night that up to a combined 265 city and WPS jobs could be lost.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “GIC-like details

  1. zed

    Cost shifting, definitely.

  2. Boots

    Clicking on the image only showed the BC/BS portion? I wonder why Tufts wasn’t included?

  3. The City doesn’t offer Tufts as a full plan, Boots. Fallon and BC/BS at different levels are the options the City has; there’s a Tufts supplement. You can find the current options here:
    http://www.worcesterma.gov/human-resources/benefits/comparisons-summaries

  4. worcestermag

    Boots, are you seeing the green/yellow portion of the image? Those are the Fallon plans. On Tuesday Mike O’Brien was asked about including out-of-Worcester providers, but he said they kept it local because the working/negotiating relationships were already established. To jump on what Tracy said, I don’t know anything about the supplemental plans for next year yet, but I’m assuming that because this is all still subject to scrutiny by the IAC, no one else really knows either.
    -Jeremy

  5. -Q

    …………………………………..Calling a spade a spade…………………………………..
    That the city manager just recently moved over 630+/- employees over to his “gic like plan” shows without a doubt that politics are at play as usual here in ol worcester. Why did the city manager wait so long to move 630employees into a different plan? If the city manager was so concerned about healtcare costs what took him so long to save the citys taxpayers monies? Because under this city manager it all about the politics and breaking unions……..Under this city manager, the goal is to deflect warranted criticism of his overpaid, underworked and bloated city administration and to paint our frontline service providers as a blight and stain on our community………..
    The time for games are over for this city manager and city council……….. remember in november!

  6. Boots

    To WorcesterMag – I only see the BC/BS intel when I click on the chart. Which is the first inline, the others are cut off. At any rate I’m sure I will be getting that intel from the City when necessary.

    To Tracy – The City has 2 Tuff plans currently. One of which I am a member of. I cannot see any Tuff Plan on the new agenda. Although as the article states: “Three new health care plans have been created: a new Blue Cross/Blue Shield network, Worcester Direct and two tiers of Worcester Advantage, both of which are Fallon plans.” I suppose that could mean that the current plans are still, and will remain, intact? But it is foolhardy to “assume” anything these days.

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