The MA Division of Insurance issued a Bulletin addressing COVID-19 testing and treatment. A copy of the Bulletin is attached. The Bulletin imposes requirements on insurers that are focused on (1) ensuring that members can obtain all medically necessary and appropriate testing and treatment for COVID-19 and (2) fighting the spread of COVID-19.
The Bulletin is mandatory for fully-insured groups but optional for self-insured groups like the City. To protect the health and wellness of our employees and their dependents, the City will adopt the requirements in the Bulletin. The City will take direction from the Division of Insurance as to the expiration of the requirements in the Bulletin.
In accord with the Bulletin, on a non-precedent setting basis, during the effective dates of the Bulletin, the City will:
Further, for the duration of the effective dates of the Bulletin, our insurance carriers will remove administrative barriers, such as prior authorizations and referrals, for medically appropriate care for COVID-19. They will also, for the duration of the effective dates of the Bulletin, establish a dedicated Coronavirus helpline, advise members of their benefits, and encourage members to use Telemedicine.
Please share this information with your members as soon as possible.
If you have any questions or concerns or need any additional information, please contact Marianna Gil at 617-635-4570 or each respective carrier as follows:
AllWays Member Services: 1-866-567-9175
BCBS Member Services: 1-800-262-2583
HPHC Member Services: 1-888-333-4742
Director, Health Benefits & Insurance Division
Boston City Hall | Room 807
617-635-2597 (w), 617-635-3932 (f)
A state bill targeting the fossil fuel industry, and backed by Local 888’s executive board, has cleared a major hurdle in the Massachusetts Legislature. The divestment legislation is part of the growing worldwide support for battling the oil industry to curb the damage caused by climate change.
“The struggle for environmental justice is tied to the fights for economic and racial justice,” said Local 888 President Brenda Rodrigues. “Climate change affects impoverished and marginalized communities far more than the wealthy.”
At the national level, the Service Employees International Union has voted climate change a key part of its political agenda. The international’s executive board has also passed a resolution in support of a U.S. Green New Deal, a proposal that aims to address climate change and the need for high-quality union jobs at the same time.
In Massachusetts, the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Service has approved a bill that would allow local communities to divest their pension funds from the fossil fuel industry. The local-option bill, put forward by the MassDivest coalition, was recently endorsed unanimously by the Boston City Council. State SEIU Locals 888, 509 and 1199 all belong to MassDivest.
Right now, communities’ retirement systems are barred from divesting their fossil fuel assets, due to a ruling by the state’s Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission. The bill would allow those communities that want to divest — including Boston, Cambridge and Somerville — to sell off such stocks and bonds.
In fact, Somerville’s retirement system had divested in 2017. But the state’s retirement commission overruled the move.
According to a MassDivest study, Somerville would have made a significantly better return on its pension funds had the city stuck with fossil fuel divestment.
For more information on MassDivest and its investment study, see https://massdivest.org/somerville-retirement-system-case-study/.
For more on the Green New Deal bill, see https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hres109/BILLS-116hres109ih.pdf.
For more on the Labor, Climate Change and Political Power conference set for Sat., March 28, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Massachusetts Archives in Boston, see: http://umasslep.org/event/2020-boston-labor-conference-labor-climate-change-and-political-power
When it comes to health insurance, out-of-pocket expenses can be a real curve ball. Local 888, other unions and retirees have been working to rein in out-of-pocket expenses for members covered under the state’s Group Insurance Commission.
For fiscal year 2018-2019, out-of-pocket expenses for GIC enrollees held roughly steady. Here’s the roundup:
Local 888 chapters in these communities are covered under the state’s GIC: Arlington, Framingham, Gloucester, Groveland, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lexington, Lowell, Medford, Millis, Norwood, Randolph, Somerville, Springfield, Watertown, Westwood, Weymouth
Local 888 will offer a series of trainings for members and leaders this spring. The essential one, “Know Your Rights Training,” shows how members can exercise their workplace rights and support each other on the shop floor.
The “Leadership Training” workshop will cover, in depth, a leader’s role and the grievance procedure. A combined class puts them together.
To sign up for a training, go to https://forms.gle/UCqC1EdiSzzZ5eno7.
LABOR, CLIMATE CHANGE AND POLITICAL POWER: Conference set for Sat., March 28, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Massachusetts Archives in Boston. Sponsor: UMass Boston Labor Center. For more info: https://tinyurl.com/888Climate.
LOCAL 888 LEADERS MEET: The SEIU Local 888 Executive Board meets Wed, April 8, 10 a.m. at the union’s conference room at 25 Braintree Hill Office Park, in Braintree. The executive board is the governing body of SEIU Local 888.
The officers and staff of Local 888 extend our deepest sympathies to the families of: