Worcester Business Journal | January 31, 2018
After a fierce wave of backlash to its move to limit the health plan offerings for state employees, the Group Insurance Commission’s executive director told lawmakers Wednesday she accepts accountability for the events that transpired.
“Though unintended, I now understand full well the concern, confusion and havoc that have ensued,” GIC executive director Roberta Herman said at a Senate oversight hearing called after the commission voted to consolidate its state employee health plan offerings by dropping three of its six carriers.
A vote to reconsider that decision is set for Thursday, and Herman said the GIC plans to “put forward an option” that involves a larger set of carriers. Herman said she could not predict or determine the vote’s outcome.
Senators participating in the hearing said they were encouraged the GIC would reconsider but still had questions about the process leading up to the decision.
Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Karen Spilka said the move left thousands of municipal and state workers “feeling alienated and, frankly, unappreciated, and understandably so.”
“It’s a decision that to be frank has generated more outrage and consternation from constituents than any issue that I can remember over the last, literally, many, many years,” Spilka said.
In a series of public hearings the GIC has held since its Jan. 18 vote, Herman said she has learned that the proposed changes caused “overwhelming anxiety.” She said she looks forward to expanding outreach efforts to unions, lawmakers and other stakeholders.
GIC officials have previously said their goal in restructuring was to limit new out-of-pocket costs for enrollees.