Section 23. (a) Upon meeting the requirements of section 21, an appropriate public authority which has undertaken to provide health insurance coverage to its subscribers may elect to provide health insurance coverage to its subscribers by transferring its subscribers to the commission and shall notify the commission of such transfer. The notice shall be provided to the commission by the appropriate public authority on or before December 1 of each year for the transfer of subscribers to the commission effective the following July 1, or on or before July 1 of each year for the transfer of subscribers to the commission effective the following January 1. On the effective date of the transfer, the health insurance of all subscribers, including elderly governmental retirees previously governed by section 10B of chapter 32A and retired municipal teachers previously governed by section 12 of chapter 32A, shall be provided through the commission for all purposes and governed under this section. As of the effective date and for the duration of this transfer, subscribers transferred to the commission’s health insurance coverage shall receive group health insurance benefits determined exclusively by the commission and the coverage shall not be subject to collective bargaining, except for contribution ratios.
Subscribers transferred to the commission who are eligible or become eligible for Medicare coverage shall transfer to Medicare coverage, as prescribed by the commission. In the event of transfer to Medicare, the political subdivision shall pay any Medicare part B premium penalty assessed by the federal government on retirees, spouses and dependents as a result of enrollment in Medicare part B at the time of transfer into the Medicare health benefits supplement plan. For each subscriber’s premium and the political subdivision’s share of that premium, the subscriber and the political subdivision shall furnish to the commission, in such form and content as the commission shall prescribe, all information the commission deems necessary to maintain subscribers’ and covered dependents’ health insurance coverage. The appropriate public authority of the political subdivision shall perform such administrative functions and process such information as the commission deems necessary to maintain those subscribers’ health insurance coverage including, but not limited to, family and personnel status changes, and shall report all changes to the commission. In the event that a political subdivision transfers subscribers to the commission under this section, subscribers may be withdrawn from commission coverage at 3 year intervals from the date of transfer of subscribers to the commission.
The appropriate public authority shall provide notice of any withdrawal by October 1 of the year prior to the effective date of withdrawal. All withdrawals shall be effective on July 1 following the political subdivision’s notice to the commission and the political subdivision shall abide by all commission requirements for effectuating such withdrawal, including the notice requirements in this subsection. In the event a political subdivision withdraws from commission coverage under this section, such withdrawal shall be binding on all subscribers, including those subscribers who, prior to the transfer to the commission, received coverage from the commission under sections 10B and 12 of chapter 32A and, after withdrawal from the commission, those subscribers who received coverage from the commission under said sections 10B and 12 of said chapter 32A shall not pay more than 25 per cent of the cost of their health insurance premiums. In the event of withdrawal from the commission, the political subdivision and public employee unions shall return to governance of negotiations of health insurance under chapter 150E and this chapter; provided, however, that the political subdivision may transfer coverage to the commission again after complying with the requirements of subsections (b) to (h), inclusive, of section 21.
The commission shall issue rules and regulations consistent with this section related to the process by which subscribers shall be transferred to the commission.
(b) To the extent authorized under chapter 32A, the commission shall provide group coverage of subscribers’ health claims incurred after transfer to the commission. The claim experience of those subscribers shall be maintained by the commission in a single pool and combined with the claim experience of all covered state employees and retirees and their covered dependents, including those subscribers who previously received coverage under sections 10B and 12 of chapter 32A.
(c) A political subdivision that self-insures its group health insurance plan under section 3A and has a deficit in its claims trust fund at the time of transferring its subscribers to the commission and the deficit is attributable to a failure to accrue claims which had been incurred but not paid may capitalize the deficit and amortize the amount over 10 fiscal years in 10 equal amounts or on a schedule providing for a more rapid amortization. Except as provided otherwise herein, subscribers eligible for health insurance coverage pursuant to this section shall be subject to all of the terms, conditions, schedule of benefits and health insurance carriers as employees and dependents as defined by section 2 and commission regulations. The commission shall, exclusively and not subject to collective bargaining under chapter 150E, determine all matters relating to subscribers’ group health insurance rights, responsibilities, costs and payments and obligations excluding contribution ratios, including, but not limited to, the manner and method of payment, schedule of benefits, eligibility requirements and choice of health insurance carriers. The commission may issue rules and regulations consistent with this section and shall provide public notice, and notice at the request of the interested parties, of any proposed rules and regulations and provide an opportunity to review and an opportunity to comment on those proposed rules and regulations in writing and at a public hearing; provided, however, that the commission shall not be subject to chapter 30A.
(d) The commission shall negotiate and purchase health insurance coverage for subscribers transferred under this section and shall promulgate regulations, policies and procedures for coverage of the transferred subscribers. The schedule of benefits available to transferred subscribers shall be determined by the commission pursuant to chapter 32A. The commission shall offer those subscribers the same choice as to health insurance carriers and benefits as those provided to state employees and retirees. The political subdivision’s contribution to the cost of health insurance coverage for transferred subscribers shall be as determined under this section, and shall not be subject to the provisions on contributions in said chapter 32A. Any change to the premium contribution ratios shall become effective on July 1 of each year, with notice to the commission of such change not later than January 15 of the same year.
(e) A political subdivision that transfers subscribers to the commission shall pay the commission for all costs of its subscribers’ coverage, including administrative expenses and the governmental unit’s cost of subscribers’ premium. The commission shall determine on a periodic basis the amount of premium which the political subdivision shall pay to the commission. If the political subdivision unit fails to pay all or a portion of these costs according to the timetable determined by the commission, the commission may inform the state treasurer who shall issue a warrant in the manner provided by section 20 of chapter 59 requiring the respective political subdivision to pay into the treasury of the commonwealth as prescribed by the commission the amount of the premium and administrative expenses attributable to the political subdivision. The state treasurer shall recoup any past due costs from the political subdivision’s cherry sheet under section 20A of chapter 58 and transfer that money to the commission. If a governmental unit fails to pay to the commission the costs of coverage for more than 90 days and the cherry sheet provides an inadequate source of payment, the commission may, at its discretion, cancel the coverage of subscribers of the political subdivision. If the cancellation of coverage is for nonpayment, the political subdivision shall provide all subscribers health insurance coverage under plans which are the actuarial equivalent of plans offered by the commission in the preceding year until there is an agreement with the public employee committee providing for replacement coverage.
The commission may charge the political subdivision an administrative fee, which shall not be more than 1 per cent of the cost of total premiums for the political subdivision, to be determined by the commission which shall be considered as part of the cost of coverage to determine the contributions of the political subdivision and its employees to the cost of health insurance coverage by the commission.
(f) If there is a withdrawal from the commission under this section, all retirees, their spouses and dependents insured or eligible to be insured by the political subdivision, if enrolled in Medicare part A at no cost to the retiree, spouse or dependents, shall be required to be insured by a Medicare extension plan offered by the political subdivision under section 11C or section 16. A retiree shall provide the political subdivision, in such form as the political subdivision shall prescribe, such information as is necessary to transfer to a Medicare extension plan. If a retiree does not submit the information required, the retiree shall no longer be eligible for the retiree’s existing health insurance coverage. The political subdivision may from time to time request from a retiree, a retiree’s spouse and dependents, proof certified by the federal government of the retiree’s eligibility or ineligibility for Medicare part A and part B coverage. The political subdivision shall pay the Medicare part B premium penalty assessed by the federal government on those retirees, spouses and dependents as a result of enrollment in Medicare part B at the time of transfer into the Medicare health benefits supplement plan.
(g) The decision to implement this section shall not be subject to collective bargaining pursuant to chapter 150E or section 19.
(h) Nothing in this section shall relieve a political subdivision from providing health insurance coverage to a subscriber to whom it has an obligation to provide coverage under any other provision of this chapter or change eligibility standards for health insurance under the definition of “employee” in section 2.
(i) Notwithstanding any other general or special law to the contrary, in the event that an agreement, either executed or modified, was reached by an appropriate public authority and the public employee committee to transfer all subscribers, for whom the authority provides health insurance coverage, to the commission under this section, its retirees, surviving spouses and their dependents may enroll in the dental insurance plan provided by the commission to retirees, surviving spouses and their dependents insured under chapter 32A, at premium contribution ratios that requires retirees, surviving spouses and their dependents to contribute 100 per cent of the dental insurance premium and administrative fee. The commission shall provide dental insurance coverage, under its plan for retirees, surviving spouses and their dependents insured under chapter 32A, to retirees, surviving spouses and their dependents who elect the coverage under this subsection, as it so provides health insurance coverage under this section. The commission may charge an administrative fee, which shall not be more than 1 per cent of the cost of total dental insurance premiums for the retirees, surviving spouses and their dependents who enroll in the dental insurance plan under this subsection, to be determined by the commission which shall be considered as part of the cost of coverage for purposes of determining the contributions of the political subdivision and its retirees, surviving spouses and their dependents to the cost of insurance coverage by the commission.