Local Insurance

Articles about Local Insurance that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees

Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation says unfunded retiree health care liability is growing for towns and cities

SPRINGFIELD – This city has $761.6 million in unfunded liabilities for municipal retiree health benefits, which works out to more than $12,000 in unfunded liabilities per single-family home.

Holyoke has $300 million in unfunded liabilities, working out to about $18,000 in unfunded liability per single-family home, or about 59 percent of Holyoke’s median household income, according to a study recently released by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.



JANUARY 13, 2012: Yesterday, January 12th the Mass. Taxpayers Foundation (MTF) under its ubiquitous leader Michael Widmer unleashed an untimely attack on municipal health insurance costs.

A brief summary of the report was included in today’s Boston Globe, including a response by Shawn Duhamel, Legislative Liaison of our Association and Ed Kelly, President of the Professional Firefighters Union.

Huge retirement shortfall in cities reported

Group is alarmed by benefit funding

By Travis Andersen
Globe Staff  
January 13, 2012

A Beacon Hill watchdog group has released a report indicating that steep cuts to education and other public services are inevitable in 10 of the state’s most cash-strapped cities to fund the rising cost of health care for their municipal retirees, unless the Legislature makes changes.

The big squeeze

It has been more than three decades since Proposition 2½ became the law of the land here in the commonwealth, but there is no question that the last few years have been the hardest on municipalities. A combination of shrinking revenue on the federal, state, and local levels has met up with a near-record growth in the costs of health care and pension funds. The result is a bleak present and, in all likelihood, a dimmer foreseeable future.

Mandatory Medicare Enrollment Now Law

JANUARY 2012 VOICE: Over the course of the two and a half years that the “old” Section 18A was law, Wilbraham wasn’t the only one to adopt it. Other communities also did, most notably the cities of Boston and Lowell.

“I received a two-page notice from the city (Boston) about switching over to Medicare,” retired firefighter Marty Fisher reports to us. “Local 718 (Boston Firefighters Union) has held meetings to help retirees with this.”

Gardner 1st To Implement New Insurance Law

Agreement Includes Premium Holiday

JANUARY 2012 VOICE: In our November Voice, we highlighted several of the communities that had adopted the new Municipal Health Insurance (MHI) law in order to join the state Group Insurance Commission (GIC). But, let’s not forget there is another major component to MHI, namely the option to make plan design changes (Section 22 of Chapter 32B). Gardner became the first municipality to implement the plan design option.

Locals Remain With GIC

JANUARY 2012 VOICE: Beginning July 1, 2009, the retirees, survivors and employees in 11 communities initiated their health insurance coverage with the state Group Insurance Commission (GIC). Whether their GIC coverage would continue for 3 or 6 years depended upon the agreement that had been reached between local officials and the PEC (Public Employee Committee).


Heavy Activity on Cape Cod, South Shore and Nashoba Valley

DECEMBER 19, 2011: As 2012 approaches, the number of municipalities eyeing changes to their local health insurance plans is rapidly growing. In the past two weeks alone, the Association has had requests from 18 separate local entities seeking a retiree representative to the local Public Employee Committee (PEC).

Municipal budgets most stressed since ’80, report says

Boston Globe

State aid cuts, lack of growth are cited

December 7 2011: Cash-strapped cities and towns across Massachusetts are struggling with the worst stress on their budgets since passage of Proposition 2 1/2 in 1980, according to a new report from the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

Many healthy returns

Boston Herald

Back when Beacon Hill was considering reforms to the way cities and towns design health plans for their workers, we were warned by public employee unions that the end of the world was nigh. Turns out, not so much.