The Town of Chelmsford announced that it has signed a three-year pilot program agreement with the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association (MIIA), its current municipal health insurance provider, which will lock in the town’s insurance rates as well as bring enhanced preventative wellness programs to employees. MIIA, the non-profit insurance arm of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, works with partner Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) to provide health insurance coverage to 121 municipal entities throughout the Commonwealth. Chelmsford has been a member of MIIA’s Health Benefits Trust since 2006.
“The Town of Chelmsford’s employees and retirees enthusiastically desired to continue with the MIIA health insurance program,” said Chelmsford Town Manager Paul Cohen. “The plan participants enjoyed the program’s stability and flexibility in the provision of excellent health care. The wellness programs are an added benefit that helps reduce costs while promoting healthy lifestyles.”
Under the new pilot program agreement – which marks the first time MIIA has locked in long-term rates for a member – Chelmsford’s employees and retirees will be able to keep their current health plans with BCBSMA (through MIIA), without any disruption in coverage. Chelmsford’s new contract with MIIA begins July 1, 2014 (after the current agreement expires on June 30, 2014) and will run through fiscal year 2017.
Cohen credits a local committee consisting of both employees (including teachers, police officers and firefighters) and retires with closely reviewing MIIA’s three-year pilot program proposal, alongside a competing offer from the Group Insurance Commission (GIC). The review process, which began in late summer, culminated with MIIA’s selection earlier this fall – and the agreement being signed in late September.
In part because MIIA sets each individual member’s rates based on its own claim levels, Chelmsford is able to access relatively favorable rates and benefits for its employees and retirees. Also, Chelmsford and other MIIA members have an opportunity to customize their health benefit programs based on local, unique health and wellness needs.
“MIIA works closely with members to tailor customized plans based on their own claims history and needs, in order to provide them with the best rate stability and plan flexibility,” said Stan Corcoran, Executive Director with MIIA. “This pilot program will not only help Chelmsford control costs over the long term but should also provide peace of mind that rates are locked in and predictable over the next several years.”
As part of its contract, Chelmsford has agreed to develop and implement a three-year wellness plan that will likely consist of an employee-led wellness committee to organize voluntary weight loss programs, personal health assessments, and onsite wellness workshops. Chelmsford and other MIIA member municipalities can access a variety of free onsite employee wellness programs designed to encourage employee fitness and reduce care costs over the long-term – such as training sessions focused on cardiovascular health, fitness, nutrition, and stress reduction.
MIIA was incorporated by the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) in 1982 as a nonprofit organization to provide insurance services to the cities, towns and other governmental entities in Massachusetts that are members of the MMA. MIIA functions as the administrator for the MIIA Property and Casualty Group Inc. and the MIIA Health Benefits Trust. The MIIA Health Benefits Trust, formed in 1992, provides health coverage for the employees and retirees of cities, towns and other governmental entities in Massachusetts that are members of the MMA. For more information, call MIIA at (800) 374-4405, or visit their Web site – eMIIA.org.