City, Unions Protest Being Locked Out of Insurance Plans

Mass. State House

(File photograph.)

Anthony J. Parolisi, a social studies teacher at Consentino School, led the scholarship fundraising effort.

Anthony J. Parolisi, a social studies teacher at Consentino School.

City workers and retirees, forced last November to buy health insurance from the state, are protesting a decision by the Group Insurance Commission to lock them out of one of their preferred plans.

Although they weren’t happy with Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s decision to move them into lower cost state plans—and many were especially concerned about the loss of Blue Cross coverage—union members took some solace in being able to choose among seven alternate health plans. Anthony Parolisi, second vice president of the Haverhill Education Association, however, told WHAV GIC voted two weeks ago to change deductibles and co-pays and lock Haverhill out of two insurance options.

“They approved these changes without public comment, and then they also made the decision to freeze two of the plans that had been opened just last year to any new member,” Parolisi explains.

The decision contradicted statements the union made to its members.

“We reassured our members that the big benefit in the GIC was choice—that they’d be fine whether they took the Tufts Navigator or not because they would have a choice.”

Parolisi explains Haverhill and Hingham—both opting into state insurance next July—are being preventing from buying the better health plan.

“We already knew we were going to be losing the provider we had. When people expressed concerns about that, they were always pointed to the Tufts Navigator as the closest GIC analog.”

Besides Tufts Navigator, commissioners took away Fallon Select Health Care as an option. Parolisi says the mayor is on their side.

“He is hoping—like we are—that the GIC will reverse its decision to freeze us out of these plans even if just for our first years as members.”

During Wednesday’s commission meeting, Fiorentini convinced Executive Director Roberta Herman to let him briefly appeal for reconsideration. All others were told to file complaints by noon today. He says the members of the Massachusetts Teachers Association and Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts are questioning whether GIC followed state open meeting laws when they made decisions at a meeting, billed as an “information session.”

Parolisi said the membership of GIC is stacked against unions. He explains of the 17 board members, only three of four represent labor.

“Right now, it heavily favors industry and municipal government. It does not favor labor.”

The city is predicted to save $3 million by moving to state plans instead of staying with medical coverage sold by the non-profit Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association.

11 thoughts on “City, Unions Protest Being Locked Out of Insurance Plans

  1. There are many who have the ability and talent to unseat him however the real question is who would want to?
    He has many hidden agendas, hidden money and promises that he can’t keep that the next person will be set up for failure.

  2. The Mayor has the elderly vote bamboozled. They think he really cares about them. Little do they know that he only cares about his supposed legacy. He only cares about how he is perceived in the public. Little does he know that people avoid him and only deal with him because they have to. Who has the ability to unseat him ?

  3. And there we have it the same- old -same hatred from The Three Stooges.

    Jack ,Jack, Duncan …kind of sounds like duck, duck , goose doesn’t it? Children.

    • No amount of name calling on this site is going to change the fact that people are calling you out for your incompetence. lying and corruption Mayor.

      You better start manufacturing some stories about what you’ve actually accomplished while in office. The list of your failings is a long one and people are now very well educated to what they are. Even the union hacks who have gotten you elected time after time are turning on you.

      The city of Haverhill made National news twice during the election for your incompetence and once regional news when you tried to intimidate and coerce a school committee member to vote according to your dictate. The cat is out of the bag regarding what a failure you are. You might want to consider not running for reelection. It’s not going to be pleasant on this site for you from now until November.

  4. I must agree with Jack and Duncan. Keep selling your soul and votes for favors and this is what you get. You folks made your bed now you can lie in it.

  5. Mr. Parolisi, it’s your HEA members who constantly turn out in droves to support this incompetent mayor to get him easily re-elected every two years. You don’t seem to complain when he returns the favor by negotiating contracts with your union that enables your members to have pensions where retirees are paid back the total amount of their own personal contributions into the retirement plan in only 18 months, then leaving ALL the future pension payments up to taxpayers. The city has rung up over $30Million in unfunded pension liabilities as a result, yet you remain mum on the issue….I wonder why?

  6. “Right now, it heavily favors industry and municipal government. It does not favor labor.” –

    Well, typical of union leadership and or their members, they didn’t do, or are incapable of doing their DD. Looking at the Commission Members, they represent corporate interests, not the unions or workers. Maybe next time when a Beacon Hill politicians offer you a favor in exchange for a vote, maybe it’s time unions and their members start looking a little more closely as to whether or not the favor is in fact a poison.

    The selling out of The American Worker continues.