Welcome to the home to United Teachers of Lowell's Straight Talk podcast. Each Wednesday we'll post a new interview with useful news and information for our members. We hope you'll come back each week to learn what's new! 

Episode 27: GIC Proposal Updates

Episode 27: GIC Proposal Updates

Here in Lowell, Massachusetts, our municipal workers receive health insurance benefits that are procured through the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission.

Last year, as members will remember, the Group Insurance Commission - or GIC - attempted to not only significantly raise insurance premiums for members, but also proposed to limit access to particular insurance plans including some plans that many of our local members subscribed. The cuts to benefits and increases in co-pays, deductibles, and premiums were a clear attempt to shift insurance costs back on to GIC members. Through a series of very well-attended “listening sessions” last year, GIC heard loud and clear that this shift was not acceptable, and ultimately, the Commission was able to negotiate with insurance carriers to keep premiums level, maintain the same insurance providers and insurance products, and impact member pocket-books with less drastic changes to co-pays, benefits, and deductibles.

In December 2018, GIC announced a series of three listening sessions across the Commonwealth intended to provide members with plan proposals for 2019-2020. These updates have not been formally approved the the GIC Commissioners. That will happen at the Commissioners first meeting in early February. The plan recommendations adopted by the GIC Commissioners will then become the basis for GIC Health Plan offerings during the Spring Open Enrollment period and take effect on July 1, 2019.

Mickie Dumont, Martha Leary and Amy Bisson traveled to Boston on January 22nd the learn the details of the GIC proposals at a daytime meeting in Boston. In this podcast Episode, we share what we learned about plan changes for 2019-2020.

For More Information

  • The Group Insurance Commission want to hear from you about planned changes. If you have questions or if you have comments about how the changes will impact you and your family members, please email, write, or phone the GIC using contact information on their web page,

  • UPDATE ON GIC LISTENING SESSIONS: Note GIC has added a session in nearby Lawrence on Jan 30th from 5:30-7 p. Read about that here.

  • As Mickie, Martha & Amy describe in the podcast, there is potential cost-shifting and some possible unintended consequences to subscribers and members. Again, please reach out directly to the GIC prior to their Commissioner’s meeting in early February to make your thoughts known.

  • The HSA plan mentioned in the podcast is a benefit for municipal employees and retirees in Lowell and is administered by Ultrabenefits. Contact the Human Relations Department for the City of Lowell to obtain plan information on this or any other benefits offered to City employees.

The Podcast Twins thank UTL Executive Board Member and retiree, Martha Leary, for joining us today.

We also thank you, our listeners and especially to UTL members for tuning in to this Episode. We welcome your general comments and feedback. If you have suggestions for future podcasts or if you are aware of a UTL member who might be willing to share expertise and experiences, please email us at

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Episode 28: Spotlight on Mariana Athayde

Episode 28: Spotlight on Mariana Athayde

Episode 26: A Conversation with AFT-MA Director or Organization, Brian LaPierre

Episode 26: A Conversation with AFT-MA Director or Organization, Brian LaPierre