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December 22, 2011

Final Regulations on Municipal Health Reform Issued

On November 11, 2011, the Commonwealth's Secretary of Administration & Finance issued final regulations regarding the recent municipal health reform act.  As noted in our earlier legal update, Municipal Health - Emergency Regulations, the regulations establish procedures municipalities and regional school districts must follow when accepting Section 21 of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 32B and engaging in negotiations with their public employee committee (PEC) over the municipality or regional school district's proposed mitigation plan.  Final regulations also set forth procedures governing the health insurance review panels.


The final regulations are largely unchanged from the emergency regulations issued in August.  They differ, however, in that they specifically allow for certain, but not all, notice requirements to be satisfied by email.  In addition, they provide that the first-year savings from health coverage changes made under the new legislation must account for the results of an enrollment survey if the changes include the introduction of a limited network plan.


The final regulations appear to carry forward the weighted vote of the PEC, which will allow teachers unions to drive the outcome of negotiations over the mitigation plan.


We continue to recommend that municipalities and regional school districts work closely with both their benefit advisor and labor counsel in order to ensure complicance as the technical requirements of the final regulations are significant.


Labor, Employment & Employee Benefits Group 


Mirick O'Connell

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Worcester, MA  01608

t 508.791.8500

f 508.791.8502


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Westborough, MA  01581

t 508.898.1501

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This client alert is intended to inform you of developments in the law and to provide information of general interest.   It is not intended to constitute legal advice regarding a client's specific legal issues and should not be relied upon as such.  This client alert may be considered advertising under the rules of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.