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Senate Approves Retiree Insurance Protection

Senate Approves Retiree Insurance Protection

Municipal Premium Moratorium Extended Two Years

MAY 24, 2016: Today, the MA State Senate unanimously passed an amendment to the FY17 budget that extends the municipal retiree insurance premium moratorium for two years - until July 1, 2018. Amendment 91, which received widespread bipartisan support, was passed on a voice vote during the first day of the Senate budget debate.

Association Announces New Discount Program

Association Announces New Discount Program

Zebit is Online Resource Exclusively for Members

MAY 23, 2016: Our Association has some exciting news that I would like to be the first to share with you.

As you know, in addition to our advocacy work for public retirees, we also seek ways for members to save money through exclusive discount programs. Due to the success of these programs, retirees have asked that we offer more ways for members to save.

You asked. We listened.

Municipal Insurance Amendment Before Senate

Extends Insurance Premium Moritorium Until July 2018

MAY 23, 2016: Members are asked for your help in protecting municipal retirees and retired teachers. Health insurance benefits for both groups are largely under the control of local governments, some of which are now threatening to increase insurance premium contribution percentages.

Passing of Geraldine "Geri" White

Served Mass Retirees Association for Thirty Years

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Geraldine White, following a short illness. Geri, as her family and friends knew her, was married to Association founder and former President Ralph White for over 60 years. Together, Ralph and Geri had four children, seven grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

GIC Health Fairs Begin Friday

GIC Health Fairs Begin Friday

Kicks Off Annual Insurance Open Enrollment

APRIL 6, 2016: Today begins the month-long open enrollment period for the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC). Retirees and employees insured by the GIC now have until May 4, 2016 to make changes to their health insurance coverage or join the retiree dental insurance plan.

Texans playing key roles in social security benefit fix

Over the years, millions of retired state and local workers — including teachers, police officers and firefighters — have received sharply reduced Social Security benefits, simply because they have had multiple jobs during their careers and weren’t allowed to pay into Social Security at all of them.

Social Security WEP Hearing Called a Success

Brady/Neal Credit Mass Retirees For Advocacy

MARCH 25, 2016:  On Tuesday of this week the House Subcommittee on Social Security held a special hearing on H.R. 711: Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act.

Association President Frank Valeri and Legislative Director Shawn Duhamel were present at the hearing and also met with key Congressional leaders from both parties, as well as Ways and Means Committee staff.

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.