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This winter, the Joint Com- mittee on Public Service favorably released five sepa- rate (plus two companion) bills initiated by Mass R etirees. This follows the release last fall of the Associ- ation’s proposal to reform and stabilize retiree health-
State Basic Life Insurance Coverage
S1430 (Sen. Tom McGee) &H2564 (Rep. John Lawn)
Increases basic life insurance for state retirees from $5,000 to $10,000.
Future Retiree Health Care Costs
H 2567 (Rep. Ron Mariano)
Makes certain benefit changes for newly hired state/local employees while protecting current retirees/employees and improving certain health care benefits for retirees/survivors
Survivor Insurance
S1449 (Sen. Marc Pacheco) & H1366 (Rep. Marjorie Decker)
Minimum 50% Employer Contribution: Requires local governments to pay at least 50% of insurance premium.
Insurance Retention: Allows survivors to remarry and continue their coverage if certain conditions are satisfied.
Veterans Bonus Increase
care benefits. Currently these bills await further action. We would like to thank Public Service Chairmen Jerry Parisella (D-Beverly) and Paul Feeney (D-Foxboro) for their support of public retirees. Here are the bills that have been released so far.
MAY 2018
S1393 (Sen. Vinny deMacedo) & H1435 (Rep. Jerald Parisella)
Increases the Annual Vets Bonus from $300 to $1,000.
Recalculation of Option (c) – Extended Retroactively
H1354 (Rep. Tackey Chan)
Recalculates, with updated mortality table, the pensions of those who retired prior to 7/1/04, when the updated table was implemented, and chose Option (c), and adjusts their pensions prospectively.
Post Retirement Earnings
S1478 (Sen. Jim Timilty)
Eliminates the 960 hour restriction for retirees who resume public sector work.
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As previously reported by Mass
Retirees, problems began to develop for the RMT Program this winter, when only one health insur- ance vendor opted to bid on pro- viding coverage for Pool 2. The reason being that Pool 2 was only comprised of the 10,000 RMTs and less than 70 Elderly Governmental Retirees (EGRs are municipal retirees or surviving spouses who retired prior to 1966). By law Pool 2 was required to be an insured product, meaning the insurance company had to assume the risk of insuring the RMTs & EGRs.
“In February, it became known that we had a significant problem involving the RMTs. Having only one vendor bid (UniCare), would have eliminated freedom of choice for those enrolled in Pool 2. UniCare is a fantastic health plan and our members are very happy with their products, but healthcare is never one size fits all. All retirees deserve to have options from which to choose,” explains Mass Retirees President Frank Valeri. “An even bigger problem was going to be the sharp rise in insurance premiums that would have resulted from RMTs being isolated in Pool 2. The very nature of insurance is that enrollees share and offset risk amongst the larger group or pool.
By placing all GIC enrollees together in Pool 1, the risk is spread out across the entire enrollment, helping to lower premiums.”
Following the Governor’s filing of H4313 on Friday, March 16th, Mass Retirees officials worked closely with legislative leaders to quickly advance the bill through the process on Beacon Hill. This included a prompt hearing before the Joint Committee on Public Service March 20th, where Legisla- tive Director Shawn Duhamel joined the GIC’s Executive Director Dr. Roberta Herman in testifying to urge prompt action on the bill. This was followed by a favorable release by the Committee later that same day.

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