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GIC Votes To Restore 3 Health Insurers To Plan Options

The state Group Insurance Commission decided Thursday to scrap its much-maligned move to cull the number of health insurance carriers available to public employees.

The new approach gives GIC members six commercial carriers and four Medicare carriers, as opposed to the three commercial carriers and two Medicare carriers under an earlier approach the commission approved in a Jan. 18 vote, according to the GIC. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Tufts Health Plan and Fallon Community Health have all been reinstated as GIC insurance carriers.

The board voted 12 to 2 to switch to so-called "Option B." Commissioners Christine Clinard and Tamara Davis voted against the motion and said they continued to favor the earlier approach.

While the earlier approach would have saved about $21 million, according to the GIC, Option B will save about $1 million. The new approach means the vast majority of members will be able to keep their health insurers, according to GIC officials.

Tim Sullivan, who holds the Massachusetts Teachers Association slot on the GIC board, said the most important work will take place at the commission's next meeting when it takes up plan design.

"I don't think it takes a political expert to conclude our process was flawed," said Melvin Kleckner, who voted with the majority on Jan. 18, and on Thursday moved to reconsider that earlier vote.

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