Latest News

Major retiree health insurance news

Major retiree health insurance news

October 21, 2022: Thursday brought some highly anticipated news to the 460,000 enrollees covered by the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC). After months of closed-door work to review and score the winning bids from respondents through the procurement process, the GIC unveiled the 4 Medicare and 7 non-Medicare health insurance plans to be offered starting in FY24.

CPI hits 8.7%

CPI hits 8.7%

October 14, 2022: Thursday morning’s announcement by the Social Security Administration of an 8.7% COLA increase for 2023, while not unexpected, confirms what we already knew – inflation has placed substantial financial pressure on retirees. In fact, an 8.7% Consumer Price Index (CPI) is the largest increase since 1981, when inflation hit 11.2%!

New developments with Social Security

New developments with Social Security

September 23, 2022: This week brought major developments in the nationwide fight to repeal or reform the Social Security WEP and GPO laws. One of these developments was history making.

Retirees were heard

Retirees were heard

9/9/22 Weekly Update: By CEO Shawn Duhamel

Before I jump into the news of the week, let me first remind everyone that our Annual Meeting takes place today (Friday) at Lombardo’s in Randolph. The meeting will kick off at 11AM. As is the case at all Mass Retirees meetings, members can bring a guest.

Senate Passes Landmark Bill to Cut Prescription Drug Prices

Senate Passes Landmark Bill to Cut Prescription Drug Prices

The U.S. Senate passed a historic budget bill on Aug. 7 that would help millions of Medicare enrollees better afford their life-sustaining medications and help millions more Americans pay their Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance premiums. The measure must now be approved by the House of Representatives before going to the president's desk.

The truth about the WEP & GPO

The truth about the WEP & GPO

8/5/2022 Weekly Update: While the bulk of today’s (long and detailed) email is on the status of the Social Security WEP & GPO legislation, allow me to remind you of today’s (Friday) Tele-Town Hall Meeting as well as provide a quick update on developments with the local option for the 5% COLA.

5% COLA approved by legislature

5% COLA approved by legislature

Awaits Approval By Governor Baker

By: Shawn Duhamel, Chief Executive Officer
Mass Retirees Association
Our efforts to pass a 5% COLA for FY23 took a major step forward this week when the legislature unanimously approved the measure as part of the annual the State Budget.

Governor Signs Post Retirement Work “Waiver” Law

Governor Signs Post Retirement Work “Waiver” Law

No Hour & Income Restrictions for Non-Disability Retirees In Public Service During 2022

June 10, 2022: Governor Charlie Baker has signed into law H4456 that waives both the hour and income restrictions (imposed by Section 91 of Chapter 32) on retirees who are in public service employment during 2022. It became Chapter 80 of the Acts of 2022.

House Approves Largest COLA Increase Since 1992

House Approves Largest COLA Increase Since 1992

Local Retirement Systems Empowered to Increase COLA Up To 5% 

APRIL 27, 2022: Today, the Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously approved a 5% increase in the FY23 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for State and Teacher Retirees. The measure also contains authorization for the state’s 102 local retirement systems to increase local COLAs from 3-5% by a majority vote of the retirement board.

COLA improvements pending before House

COLA improvements pending before House

APRIL 22, 2022: After nearly a year of preparation by our Association, debate is about to begin in the House of Representatives on proposals that would make improvements to the annual COLA benefit paid to public retirees. Mass Retirees has sponsored two amendments to the House FY23 budget - #1136 filed by Representative Ken Gordon and #1411 filed by Representative Mark Cusack.

Before I get into the specifics of the two amendments, let me first remind you of two upcoming Mass Retirees meetings.

House FY23 Budget Contains 3% State and Teacher COLA

House FY23 Budget Contains 3% State and Teacher COLA

Amendments Filed to Improve COLA Benefits 

APRIL 19, 2022: On Wednesday the House released their version of the Fiscal Year 2023 state budget. This marks the next stage of the budget process, which began in January when Governor Baker filed his proposal. The $49.6 billion dollar budget included two items of significance to retirees. First, as in the Governor’s proposal, the House fully funded the Group Insurance Commission, making sure health insurance will once again remain stable. 

Very exciting news to share

Very exciting news to share

Weekly Update 4/8/2022: It is always a great day when we can share good news with our members. Since I have two pieces of very positive news to share, I suppose it makes today exceptionally good!

GIC launches health plan procurement process

GIC launches health plan procurement process

Weekly Update 4/1/2022: Every five years the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) is required to rebid all health insurance, pharmacy, dental, and life insurance contracts. FY23, which begins July 1, 2022, marks the final year of the current 5-year contract cycle for all GIC health insurance and pharmaceutical drug plans.

Today we anticipate the release of the first component of the GIC’s FY24 procurement – the Request for Response (RFR) for the health insurance plans. The pharmacy plan RFR will be released in early June.

Striking a deal on WEP reform

Striking a deal on WEP reform

Weekly Update 3/18/2022: Well over half of our membership are impacted by the Social Security WEP law. This means that they have had their personal Social Security benefit unfairly reduced.

GIC Announces FY23 Plan Design & Premiums

GIC Announces FY23 Plan Design & Premiums

Popular UniCare OME Plan to Increase 1.3%

March 3, 2022: The state’s Group Insurance Commission held their monthly meeting to vote on the plan design structure proposed at the January meeting, as well as vote on the plan rates for FY23.  As we were anticipating from the January meeting the Commission voted to make no changes in the plan design, meaning members will see no increases to the copays and deductibles of the plans.

Mass Retirees Calls For Divestment from Russia

Mass Retirees Calls For Divestment from Russia

Supports Moves by Treasurer Goldberg & Legislature to Act

March 2, 2022: In the wake of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the Mass Retirees Association has joined those calling for full divestment of public pension funds from Russian companies or investments tied to Russia.  

Pension Fund Gains Added $70 Billion Over 10 Years

Pension Fund Gains Added $70 Billion Over 10 Years

February 17, 2022: The state's pension fund has gained $70.6 billion over the past decade, exceeding its targets by $12 billion after posting the fourth largest annual gain in its history in 2021, fund managers reported on Thursday. Pension Reserve Investment Management Executive Director Michael Trotsky has previously shared that the fund, which pays retirement benefits to state employees and teachers, grew by 20.1 percent after fees in 2021, for a gain of $17.4 billion, and closed the year at a record high $104.3 billion.

What’s happing in 2022

Preview of the January 2022 Voice

Preview of the January 2022 Voice
DECEMBER 10, 2021: As promised, for this week’s video I am joined by Bill Rehrey and Nancy McGovern for a sneak preview of our January 2022 edition of The Voice.
Before I dive into the details of what you will find in the upcoming newsletter, I’d like to thank the thousands of members who have promptly renewed your Mass Retirees membership for 2022. November began our membership renewal process for next year, with notices mailed to the 20,000+ members who renew at the end of the year. Members receive a renewal notice base

PEABODY FIREFIGHTER HONORED POSTHUMOUSLY

PEABODY FIREFIGHTER HONORED POSTHUMOUSLY

BY ANNE MARIE TOBIN, Lynn Item

NOVEMBER 19, 2021: PEABODY — There were plenty of smiles to go around Wednesday morning at the Fire Department headquarters on Lowell Street as Joseph P. DiFranco, one of Peabody’s most beloved and respected firefighters, was honored posthumously with the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts (PFFM) Joseph J. Cantalupa Lifetime Service Award. 

DiFranco’s wife, Marie, accepted the award on behalf of “Big Joe” from PFFM President Richard MacKinnon Jr.

Congressman Brady Files WEP Reform Proposal

Congressman Brady Files WEP Reform Proposal

Marks 4th WEP/GPO Bill Pending Before House in 2021

NOVEMBER 8, 2021: In the course of a week, the number of bills pending before the US House of Representatives to either repeal or reform the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) has doubled.

Breaking news on WEP & GPO

Breaking news on WEP & GPO

October 29, 2021: Weekly Report

By Shawn Duhamel

Every so often something unexpected happens in life that has the potential to become truly beneficial. In this case, I am referring to a new federal bill that proposes the biggest overhaul of Social Security since 1983.

Medicare Advantage Marketing Targets Retirees

Medicare Advantage Marketing Targets Retirees

Members Should Not Drop GIC or Municipal Insurance

October 29, 2021: Each fall, during the Medicare open enrollment period, a plethora of ads targeting retirees dominate the airwaves and mailboxes of seniors. This year calls from members to our Beacon Hill office with complaints about aggessive sales tactics have hit an all time high.