Latest News

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.

State clears way for 5,000 workers to retire early

Some fear move may hurt services

By Joshua Miller Globe Staff  May 05, 2015

Governor Charlie Baker signed an early retirement plan Monday that will soon reduce the state workforce by up to 5,000 employees — a move that is expected to save money but quickly raised worries about an erosion of state services.

Though state lawmakers had expressed some initial skepticism, the House and Senate gave final approval to the proposal hours before the governor signed it. The votes were a victory for Baker and his effort to bridge a daunting state budget shortfall.

Gov. Charlie Baker signs state employee retirement incentive program into law

By Shira Schoenberg
May 04, 2015 at 5:15 PM

BOSTON - Gov. Charlie Baker signed a law establishing a retirement incentive for state employees, on the same day the Legislature sent the bill to his desk.

"We're very happy with the Legislature's compromise on this, and we're thrilled that they acted expeditiously to get this done," Baker told reporters at the Statehouse. "I appreciate the fact that it was a complicated piece of legislation to begin with, and we're looking forward to moving forward on the act of actually implementing it."

Early Retirement Bill Now Law

Up To 5,000 State Workers May Retire By June 30th

MAY 4, 2015: Late today Governor Charlie Baker signed the much anticipated state early retirement incentive plan (ERIP) into law. Limited in scope, the bill only applies to a target set of state workers. Municipal employees, teachers, public safety and higher education, among others, are not eligible for the ERIP.

Governor Baker filed legislation calling for a limited ERIP in order to reduce the state's workforce in the face of a reported $1.8 billion state deficit.

New Law to Strip Social Security Numbers From Medicare Cards

WASHINGTON — Concerned about the rising prevalence and sophistication of identity theft, most private health insurance companies have abandoned the use of Social Security numbers to identify individuals. The federal government even forbids private insurers to use the numbers on insurance cards when they provide medical or drug benefits under contract with Medicare.

Agreement Between GIC and U-Mass Medical

Open Enrollment Begins

APRIL 7, 2015: At the proverbial 11th hour, U-Mass Medical Group agreed to a new contract with the state’s Group Insurance Commission and its basic indemnity plan carrier, UniCare.

For months U-Mass Medical had baulked at agreeing to a new UniCare contract, despite repeated attempts by the GIC and UniCare officials to broker a deal. The dispute was reportedly due to a disagreement over reimbursement rates paid to U-Mass. Officials claimed that the rates offered by the GIC through UniCare were too low.

Eastern Mass. Meeting

Mass Retirees will hold its annual Somerville, MA meeting on Friday, April 10th. The meeting begins at 11:00 AM and lasts approximately 90 minutes. All members are welcome to bring a guest. Door prizes will be drawn for those in attendance.

Holiday Inn Somerville, 30 Washington St., Somerville, MA

Baker’s early retirement plan could see House vote this week

By Joshua Miller
Globe Staff  March 23, 2015

In a boost for a key part of Governor Charlie Baker’s budget plan, Speaker Robert A. DeLeo Monday backed a pension-sweetening early retirement program that Baker proposed to help close a gnawing state budget gap.

DeLeo said the House of Representatives intends to vote as soon as this week on the plan, which works to entice thousands of state workers to retire early by offering them a chance to boost their pensions by crediting them with up to five additional years of age or work.

Leominster Area Meeting

Friday, March 27, 2015

11:00 am to 1:00 pm

Double Tree By Hilton (Formerly Four Points Sheraton)
99 Erdman Way
Leominster, MA
Rt. 12, Fitchburg Leominster
Exit 12 off Rt. 2

Early Retirement Proposal Under Legislative Review

Baker Plan Limited in Scope

MARCH 9, 2014: Last week, Governor Charlie Baker proposed the first early retirement incentive (ERI) plan in nearly twelve years as a means to avoid potential layoffs of some 4,500 state executive branch employees.

Blue Cross vastly expands quality-based payment systems

The Massachusetts health care industry’s traditional system of paying doctors for every office visit, test, and procedure may be nearing its end.

GIC INSURANCE PREMIUM COSTS GOING UP

Governor Proposes Higher Employee Contributions

MARCH 5, 2015: Monthly insurance premiums for the 425,000 enrollees of the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) will increase starting in June.

The increase in monthly premiums is the result of higher medical inflation across nearly all GIC plans. Essentially, the price of medical care and prescription drugs is once again on the rise.

Baker Proposes 3% State-Teacher COLA

FY16 Budget Takes Effect July 1, 2015

MARCH 4, 2015: Governor Charlie Baker has included a full 3% COLA for retired state employees and teachers in his FY16 budget proposal filed today. The COLA would be applied to a $13,000 base.

COLAs for local, county, regional and district retirees are established locally and administrated by local retirement systems. At the local level the COLA base ranges from $12,000 to $18,000 – an amount determined by the retirement board and local legislative body.

State to offer early retirement deals; layoffs may follow

Baker to start by offering enhanced-pension deals, hopes for 4,500 takers

By Joshua Miller Globe Staff  March 02, 2015

Facing the prospect of a daunting state budget gap, Governor Charlie Baker will file legislation this week aimed at enticing thousands of state employees to retire early. But if the move does not generate the expected savings, workers will be laid off, a top official said Sunday.

Goldberg brings competitive nature to treasurer role

Goldberg brings competitive nature to treasurer role

By Beth Healy
Globe Staff  February 24, 2015


Deborah Goldberg settles into a chair by the fireplace in the state treasurer’s office, the first woman to take residence there in a dozen years. She has rearranged the furniture, living-room-style, to be more inviting.

CVS CareMark Retained by GIC

Reduces Costs by $145m Over Three-Years

FEBRUARY 18, 2015: Following an extensive search process, the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) voted to retain CVS CareMark for at least another three-years beginning July 1, 2015. The Rhode Island-based firm has been the pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) for the GIC’s UniCare plans since 2010.

GIC APPROVES 2016 COPAYMENT & DEDUCTIBLE HIKE

Association Deeply Opposes $60m Cost Shift

FEBRUARY 17, 2015: Over the objections of our Association and union representatives, the Commonwealth’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) voted to increase copayments and deductibles for Fiscal Year 2016, beginning July 1, 2015.

While this increase marks the first of its kind in more than five years, Association officials strongly oppose what we view as further cost shifting onto the backs of retirees and employees who utilize their insurance benefits.

Association Opposes Increased Copayment & Deductibles

Association Opposes Increased Copayment & Deductibles

GIC Holds Annual Public Hearing

February 4, 2015:  Association officials were present and offered testimony at the state Group Insurance Commission’s (GIC) annual public hearing held today at the State House.

ATTENTION STATE RETIREMENT SYSTEM MEMBERS

ATTENTION STATE RETIREMENT SYSTEM MEMBERS

THERESA MCGOLDRICK ENDORSED FOR STATE RETIREMENT BOARD

Retired state employees who are members will shortly receive a ballot for a very important election. As you know the State Retirement Board has two elected members who serve on staggered three-year terms – Ralph White and Theresa McGoldrick

RETIREMENT SYSTEMS ISSUE 2014 1099

Blizzard May Cause Postal Delays

JANUARY 29, 2015: Tax documents for retired Massachusetts public employees are now in the process of being issued by the 10 retirement systems.

The IRS gives retirement boards (and all employers) through January 30th to issue 1099s to those retirees and surviving spouses who received a retirement allowance in 2014. Some systems have already mailed the forms to retirees. All members should receive their 1099 document by the end of the first week of February.

RETIREE LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE FILED

14 Proposals For 2015-16 Session

JANUARY 16, 2015: The Association has completed the filing process for its 2015-16 Legislative package. Under joint House-Senate rules, the deadline was Friday, January 16, 2015 at 5:00 pm.

All told, fourteen separate bills make up the Association’s proposal for the new session that began on January 7th and lasts through the first Tuesday in January 2017. Bills will shortly be assigned numbers and be assigned to various committees for review.

DISABILITY EARNINGS UPDATE NOW LAW

Legislature & Patrick Act at 11th Hour

JANUARY 8, 2015: Moments before taking his “lone walk” down to the front steps of the State House on his final evening as Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick signed into law our Association’s bill adjusting the outside earnings limits of accidental disability retirees – now Chapter 492, Acts of 2014.