Focus On Retiree Insurance Cost

APRIL 3, 2012: As we have previously reported, the Association will take part in the Special Commission on Retiree Health Care that gets underway Thursday, April 5.

The eleven-member Commission, created within Chapter 176, Acts of 2011 (Pension Reform), is tasked with further exploring various means by which retiree health insurance costs might be lowered.

Under the legislative mandate, the Commission is due to file a report with the Legislature in late November. This report, including cost control recommendations, will most likely be considered by the Legislature in early 2013.

Association President Ralph White has appointed Legislative Liaison Shawn Duhamel to be our Association’s representative on the Commission. Duhamel joins retired Dracut Firefighter Andrew Powell, who is the representative of the AFL-CIO.

Former Patrick Administration official Henry Dormitzer will serve as the Commission’s chairman, while Greg Mennis, from the Office of Administration and Finance, represents Governor Patrick.

Remaining Commission members include:

  • Dolores Mitchell, Executive Director Group Insurance Commission
  • Al Gordon, Deputy Treasurer for Policy
  • Senator Jack Hart (D-Boston)
  • Senator Michael Knapik (R-Westfield)
  • Representative John Scibak (D-S. Hadley)
  • Representative Jay Barrows (R-Attleboro)
  • Daniel Morgado, Shrewsbury Town Manager

Following on the heels of 2011’s landmark Municipal Healthcare Reform law (Chapter 69), many retirees are openly questioning the need for further reforms at this time. Presently, over 150 municipalities are in the throws of adopting the new law, which is expected to save over $100 million in FY13 alone.

Unfunded liabilities, associated with public retiree healthcare, have become a national issue, since the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) began requiring disclosure of projected future costs. The Association has promoted legislation establishing healthcare trust funds at the state and local levels to set aside funds to offset future costs.