Push to Increase State Retiree’s Life Insurance Benefit

Push to Increase State Retiree’s Life Insurance Benefit

Last Raised In 1985 – Retirees Urged to Call State Reps

April 23, 2018 – Mass Retirees has launched an all-out push to increase Basic Life Insurance benefits for state retirees and employees. The current $5,000 benefit was established 33-years ago in 1985.

The Association is advocating for the inclusion of an amendment to the FY19 State Budget increasing the basic life insurance benefit to $10,000. Amendment #917 was filled by State Representative Dan Cahill (D-Lynn) and had grown to 90 cosponsors as of Tuesday evening. 

Debate on the FY19 State Budget is scheduled to begin in the House of Representatives today and last throughout much of the week. If adopted, Amendment #917 would increase the Basic Life Insurance benefit for state retirees and active employees to $10,000 beginning January 1, 2019.

Over the past week, Mass Retirees launched a campaign encouraging state retirees to contact their State Representative and ask for their support of Amendment #917. Phones in the Association’s Beacon Street office rang off the hook for hours Monday morning, as members sought their Representative’s phone numbers.

If you have not yet called your State Representative, click here to look up their State House phone number.

“Next to the Social Security WEP law, I receive more complaints about the lack of proper life insurance benefits than any other issue. The current benefit does not even come close to covering a retiree’s funeral and burial costs, which was the original intent of the benefit,” says Association President Frank Valeri. “Over the past four years I lost both of my in-laws, as well as my own dad. I know firsthand how the death of a family member can bring about financial stress. Retirees deserve to have adequate benefits to help cushion that blow.

“We’ve encouraged our members to call their local State Rep and ask for their support of Amendment #917. The benefit has not increased in 33 years, yet funeral and burial costs have more than doubled. We’re not asking for much here nor is this proposal a high-cost item in the context of a $41 billion State Budget.”

Life insurance benfits for municipal retirees and teachers are set by each local city and town. No legislative action is required.

#917; Cahill: (State) Basic Life Insurance

Increases the basic life insurance benefit for state retirees and employees by $5,000 to the new benefit level of $10,000. The current $5,000 benefit was established in 1985 and has remained unchanged for 33 years.

  • Basic life insurance serves as retirees’ “death benefit” and is intended to cover funeral and burial expenses.
  • Average funeral home costs alone have increased from $2,837 in 1985 to more than $8,508 in 2014, according to the NFDA report.
  • Benefit change would take effect January 1, 2019 with a cost of just $4.5 million to the Commonwealth for FY19.
  • Funding sources include the GIC’s FY18 surplus ($51 million as of February 28th), as well as ongoing savings generated by higher out-of-pocket costs, vendor selection and plan design changes 

Amendment #917 to H4400

Basic Life Insurance

Cosponsors as of 9:00 PM on April 23, 2018


John J. Lawn, Jr.

James J. Dwyer

Frank A. Moran

Paul Tucker

RoseLee Vincent

Angelo M. Scaccia

Paul W. Mark

Jay R. Kaufman

Stephan Hay

Bruce J. Ayers

Mark J. Cusack

Gerard Cassidy

Michael J. Finn

Danielle W. Gregoire

Marjorie C. Decker

Linda Dean Campbell

Daniel M. Donahue

David M. Rogers

Aaron Vega

Christine P. Barber

Paul McMurtry

Shawn Dooley

John J. Mahoney

Carole A. Fiola

Colleen M. Garry

Joseph W. McGonagle, Jr.

Jerald A. Parisella

David Paul Linsky

Susan Williams Gifford

John Barrett

James J. O'Day

Thomas M. Stanley

Sean Garballey

Tackey Chan

John H. Rogers

Timothy R. Whelan

Antonio F. D. Cabral

Byron Rushing

Angelo L. D'Emilia

John C. Velis

Kate Hogan

Brian M. Ashe

James R. Miceli

Paul A. Schmid, III

Adrian Madaro

Daniel J. Hunt

Solomon Goldstein-Rose

Daniel Cullinane

Todd M. Smola

Carolyn C. Dykema

Jeffrey N. Roy

Lori A. Ehrlich

James Arciero

David T. Vieira

Natalie Higgins

Randy Hunt

Carmine L. Gentile

Mary S. Keefe

Edward F. Coppinger

Keiko M. Orrall

David K. Muradian, Jr.

Daniel J. Ryan

William C. Galvin

Josh S. Cutler

Steven S. Howitt

James M. Kelcourse

Frank I. Smizik

Michelle M. DuBois

Jay D. Livingstone

William Driscoll

Mathew Muratore

Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr.

Christopher M. Markey

Mike Connolly

James M. Murphy

Michael S. Day

Louis L. Kafka

Brian Murray

Jonathan D. Zlotnik

Kay Khan

Kenneth I. Gordon

Denise C. Garlick

Alan Silvia

Shaunna L. O'Connell

Harold P. Naughton, Jr.

Jack Lewis

Donald H. Wong

Geoff Diehl

Robert M. Koczera

James J. Lyons, Jr.

Thomas A. Golden, Jr.

William M. Straus