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The Voice of the Retired Public Employee
FWINCHESTER REvERSES EARLIER DECISIONS or Winches- ‘As with local retiree groups across the a Winchester resi-
ter retirees, dent at large, with
we’ve wit-
nessed a dra-
matic turn of
events for the
better when it
comes to their
split of the
health insurance premium. Over 5 years ago, a majority of the town’s retired employees and teachers were threatened with a doubling of the premium split that they would be paying toward their health insur- ance from 25% to 50%.
Commonwealth, we will be there to help the town comptrol-
For most, this split increase to 50% meant that they would see the dollar amount, paid by them toward their monthly premium, spike up by 100%. In certain cases, it would have been even worse – three and a half to four times as much!
In the spring of 2014, the retirees’ grassroots efforts resulted in the selectmen scaling back their 2012 plans to implement the 50% contri- bution on July 1 of that year. Instead they changed the 50% to a 30% contribution for those who retired before 2004, phasing in the change over an 18-month period. For those who retired after 2004, the 50% would be phased in over 2 years.
committee for my home town and its retirees,” com- ments Brouder. “As an employee bene- fits consultant, I hope that my experi- ence and knowledge has been of assis- tance to the group as we address the complex issues
in any way we can.’ ler PRESIDENT FRANK VALERI officio.
action didn’t sit well with the Win- chester retirees. “We received calls, here in the office, asking us if some- thing could be done to stop the increases,” recalls Association Insurance Coordinator Cheryl Still- man.
“A good friend of the Association serves on the Advi- sory Committee,” according to Legislative Director Shawn Duhamel. “John Brouder of Boston Benefit Partners, whom we’ve worked with over many years on retiree healthcare was the Win- chester resident at large on the com-
“Unfortunately no legal action could block the selectmen’s deci- sion. Instead, we saw the town’s retirees mobilize and bring political pressure on the selectmen.”
“I’m honored to serve on this
serving ex-
Understandably, Winchester retirees rose up against the select- men’s action. And the fight to reverse it has continued ever since and appears to be paying off.
Looking Back
While Winchester selectmen voted to phase-in the 50% split on 2004-2014 retirees over 2 years, it would be reached eventually on July 1, 2015. Something had to be done and it was then.
By way of background, it was November 2012 when the Win- chester Board of Selectmen approved a series of draconian changes in the town’s health insur- ance program for its retirees and survivors. They voted first to raise deductibles, co-pays and tiering to the same amounts as the state Group Insurance Commission (GIC), beginning July 2013.
Their efforts didn’t stop there. During Winchester’s May 2014 town meeting, a citizens’ proposal was approved to create a Retiree Health Insurance Advisory Com- mittee that would examine the town’s policies on retiree health insurance benefits and report back to the town meeting. This commit- tee was comprised of two Win- chester retirees, one active town employee, one member of the Board of Selectmen or their appointee, one member of the Finance Committee or their appointee, one member of the Per- sonnel Board or their appointee and
In the 2014 town elections, Win- chester retirees openly supported Steve Powers who defeated Select- man and Board Chairman Doug Marmon who voted for the increases back in 2012. As select- man, Powers proposed that the increase to 50% be delayed for another 2 years – until June 30, 2017.
But Winchester selectmen didn’t stop there. They also voted to increase the retiree premium con- tribution to 50% beginning July 2014.
Powers’ proposal was approved by the Board of Selectmen. Again,
Needless to say, the selectmen’s
Please See Page 8 ☞
relating to retiree healthcare.”
Medicare Retirees: No 50% Split

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