Latest News

Congressional Hearing on WEP Bill March 22

Mass Retirees Plays Central Role

MARCH 16, 2016: In a major step toward resolving a complex problem we have fought to resolve for more than thirty years, the US House of Representatives will hold a hearing on H.R. 711, known as the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act. H.R. 711 reforms the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) to create a more accurate and fair accounting of credit earned under Social Security.

AARP SUPPORTS WEP REFORM

Major Step Toward Congressional Action

MARCH 12, 2015: In a major step toward reforming the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has endorsed HR711 and urged Congress to take action during the 2016 Session.

The support comes on the heels of a meeting with the 38 million-member strong AARP that was led by the Retired Texas Teachers and Mass Retirees. AARP’s policy committee then put their stamp of approval on the proposal early this week.

GIC Sets Insurance Rates For FY17

OME Prices Drop -7.2%

MARCH 4, 2016: Retirees who are enrolled in the state Group Insurance Commission’s (GIC) Option Medicare Extension (OME) plan received very good news this week – health insurance rates for FY17 will decrease by 7.2%. 

Last year, OME enrollees experienced an increase of 6.5%. Two years ago, the same rates decreased 0.4%.

In addition, the GIC has voted to maintain the same copayments and deductibles that have been in effect for the past year, without any increase.

Progress Continues on WEP Reform

Obama Reignites GPO Debate

MARCH 1, 2016: Association officials joined our Texas counterparts on Monday for a series of meetings in Washington DC aimed at consolidating support for the passage legislation reforming the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).

Florida Gulf Coast Meeting Alert

New Meeting Locations in Largo & Ft. Myers Beach

FEBRUARY 24, 2016: The Association will be on Florida’s Gulf Coast during the week of March 1st for two membership meetings. For longtime members, please note that our meeting location has changed. We will no longer meet in St. Pete, but rather at a new location in Largo, FL.

Members can expect to hear updates on the Social Security Windfall and Offset laws, retiree health insurance, life insurance, veterans benefits and a host of other legislative initiatives.

GIC ANNOUNCES 2016 HEALTH FAIRS

13 Locations Across The State Thru April  

February 12, 2016: Today the Group Insurance Commission announced the schedule for the 2016 Health Fairs. This is an annual practice that the GIC conducts during its open enrollment which this year runs from April 6th to May 4th.

Mass. health care reform pioneer Dolores Mitchell retires

Mass. health care reform pioneer Dolores Mitchell retires

With an eye on rising costs, the health care industry today is looking for new ways to contain spending while improving patient care.

It’s a monumental goal, one that insurers and care providers, prodded by landmark health care laws, are trying to tackle. Dolores L. Mitchell has been doing it for nearly three decades.

GIC Director Retiring

Mitchell Led Agency For Nearly 29 Years

DECEMBER 21, 2015: At the close of the state Group Insurance Commission’s December meeting, Executive Director Dolores Mitchell stunned the crowded meeting by announcing her retirement. After leading the GIC for nearly 29 years, Mitchell will retire in 2016.

The fifteen-member Commission that governs the GIC will now begin the process of hiring a new executive director.

GIC OME Subscribers: Do Not Opt Out of SilverScript Plan

Only Impacts Certain Medicare Enrollees

NOVEMBER 21, 2015: Members who are insured under the state Group Insurance Commission’s (GIC) Option Medicare Extension (OME) plan will have a new prescription drug provider as of January 1, 2016.

As the GIC and our Association have been reporting for nearly a year, prescription coverage under the OME plan is being transferred SilverScript. Under federal law, retirees must be given the opportunity to “Opt Out” of the new drug plan.

Budget deal blunts, but doesn’t erase, increase in Medicare premiums

The tentative budget agreement forged by congressional leaders and the Obama administration will ward off a historic spike in Medicare premiums for the coming year, but it will nevertheless require nearly one in three older Americans to pay 17 percent more in monthly premiums for doctors’ visits and other outpatient care.

Federal Budget Deal Contains Medicare Fix

Federal Budget Deal Contains Medicare Fix

Warren, Neal, Clark, McGovern and Tsongas Help Protect Retirees

OCTOBER 27, 2015: The federal government is about to come to the aid of public retirees who have been bracing for a major increase in Medicare Part B premiums for 2016.

No Social Security COLA for 2016

Medicare Rates May Increase for Some Retirees

OCTOBER 9, 2015: A flat Consumer Price Index (CPI) means there will be no COLA increase under Social Security for 2016. The CPI-W is the federal standard used to calculate inflation.

Since 1987, a national debate has raged as to whether or not the CPI-W is an accurate gauge for retirees. Many, including our Association, feel a more accurate measure is the CPI-E (Elderly), which looks to inflationary pressures such as healthcare costs that impact retirees on a larger scale.

Join Us! Springfield Area Meeting This Week

On Wednesday, October 7th, our Association will hold its first ever Springfield-Area meeting. The meeting begins at 11:00 AM at the Dante Club in West Springfield. All members are invited to attend. Guests are also welcome.

Dante Club
1198 Memorial Ave.
West Springfield, MA

STATE BOARD BEGINS TO PAY ERIP RETIREES

Work Continues On Remaining Applications

On August 31, approximately 600 former state employees, who retired under the Employee Retirement Incentive Program (ERIP), will be receiving their first pension payment, retroactive to June 30, 2015. According to the ERIP law (Chapter 19, Acts of 2015), the State Retirement Board had 120 days (4 months) from the date of retirement (June 30) to issue pensions to the ERIP retirees.

Bill would have state set raises for retirees

By Cliff Clark
Sentinel & Enterprise

Basic Life Insurance Bill Advances

Public Service Committee Grants Favorable Report

AUGUST 11, 2015: Legislation that would increase the basic life insurance benefit for state retirees and active employees has been released with a favorable report by the Joint Committee on Public Service.

Association officials worked closely with Committee Chairmen Rep. Jamie Murphy (D-Weymouth) and Senator Jim Timilty (D-Walpole) in recent months to advance the legislation forward prior to the start of the FY17 state budget cycle.

3% COLA For State & Teacher Retirees

Treasurer Goldberg to Include Payment in July Pensions

JULY 21, 2014: Following Governor Charlie Baker’s approval of the 3% COLA for state and teacher retirees, Treasurer Deb Goldberg saw to it that the 1st payment for FY16 will be included in the July pension check.

3rd time not a charm, as Leominster board again denies pension raise for retirees

By Cliff Clark, cclark@sentinelandenterprise.com

LEOMINSTER -- The third attempt to secure an annual pension increase for city retirees failed like the first two at a meeting Tuesday morning of the city's Retirement Board.

"You ought to be ashamed of yourselves," one person shouted from a crowd of more than 50 city retirees and supporters at the board as three of its members raised their hands to deny city retirees a 1.7 percent cost-of-living increase.

Retirement Board to again take up COLA

LEOMINSTER -- Just seven days after the Retirement Board voted down the first cost-of-living increase for city retirees in five years, another attempt will be made at 9 a.m. Tuesday, according to one board member.

"We're going to try again to get a COLA for city retirees," said elected board member John Picone.

During last week's meeting, the board voted twice on proposals to raise the COLA 3 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Tempers rise -- but not pensions for Leominster

LEOMINSTER -- Tension between the chairman of the Retirement Board, other board members and city retirees erupted into open hostility at a meeting Tuesday, when another attempt at securing a cost-of-living raise for pensioners failed.

"You've been lying to this board," elected Retirement Board member John Picone said to Chairman John Richard, who is also the city comptroller, in front of more than 40 city retirees in the Council Chambers of City Hall. "You've been lying to me. You've been lying to the people out here for years.

Fossil-fuel divestiture hearing: Retirees’ interests vs. environmental concerns

John Hilliard
State House News Service
June 9, 2015

During a packed hearing late Tuesday morning, supporters of bills that would divest public pensions from fossil fuel energy industry over concerns that relying on profits from those companies helps contribute to climate change.

Early retirement plan drawing fewer applicants than predicted

Governor Charlie Baker’s early retirement plan is on pace to draw fewer applicants than his administration predicted, a gap that could prompt state government layoffs later this year.

FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT TAKES CENTER STAGE

FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT TAKES CENTER STAGE

Mass Retirees Supports Formal Study, Urges Caution

JUNE 10, 2015: On Tuesday, the complex issue of public pension fund divestment of fossil fuel investments took center stage at the Massachusetts State House. 

Membership Reminder: BJ’s Discounts Now Available

Offer Extended Through June 30th!

JUNE 5, 2015: Mass Retirees is happy to announce that our exclusive discount program with BJ’s Wholesale Club has been extended through June 30, 2015. Retirees must be a dues paying Mass Retirees member in order to qualify for the program.

Death of Pittsfield's Gerard Miller

Death of Pittsfield's Gerard Miller

It is with great sadness that Mass Retirees announces the death of our long-time Western Mass. Vice President Gerard “Jerry” Miller. Jerry was a retired Pittsfield Fire Lieutenant and chairman of the Pittsfield Retirement Board.