Raise the Death Benefit

Raise the Death Benefit
Increase the State's Basic Life Insurance

Mass Retirees Call on House to Increase Basic Life Insurance: Adopt Amendment #99

State retirees and active employees are urged to contact their State Representative and ask that they support AND vote to adopt Amendment #99 to H4617. This proposal would increase the state’s Basic Life Insurance benefit to $10,000, utilizing a small portion of the Group Insurance Commission’s projected $99 Million surplus as a funding source.

The Basic Life Insurance benefit for state retirees and active employees was last increased in 1985. Over the past 33 years funeral and burial costs have more than doubled, rendering the current $5,000 benefit woefully inadequate. This places a large financial burden on the families of state retirees.

Amendment #99, titled $10,000 Basic Life Insurance for State Retirees & Employees, is sponsored by Reps. Dan Cahill (D-Lynn), Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge and John Lawn (D-Watertown). 

Basic Life Insurance benefits last was set by the legislature in 1985 and currently provides for a death benefit of just $5,000. As we have done in previous years, we advocated for the inclusion within the FY19 Budget an increase of the benefit to $10,000. Despite our best efforts, the proposal was not adopted – largely due to cost concerns.

Under current contribution rates, the cost to the Commonwealth for a $5,000 benefit increase is approximately $9 million. We believe we have identified a funding source for at least the initial costs for FY19.

Just last week, the Group Insurance Commission publicly announced a projected surplus of $99 million for FY18. Following the sharp increase in out-of-pocket costs for the current fiscal year, we believe this surplus is directly attributable to our members. Please find attached a chart presented just yesterday by the GIC during its meeting that shows the projected surplus. 

With this funding source, we believe that the time is right to give back to state retirees and employees. Our hope is that a small fraction of this surplus can be utilized to address the long standing and overdue need to increase the Basic Life Insurance Benefit. This benefit is truly the only life insurance option for many older retirees.

You deserve a meaningful 21st Century benefit. And the time is now for it to finally be increased!

Please contact your State Representative now, urging them to support Amendment No. 99. Click here for their contact info.