Latest News

Retiree Dental Enrollment Climbs

GIC Plan Adds 2,300 For FY15

JUNE 13, 2014: At its monthly meeting held today, the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) announced that enrollment in the retiree-pay-all dental program increased by some 2,300 retirees for Fiscal Year 2015, which begins July 1.

Now entering its 11th year of existence, the retiree dental program is not only a great success story for the GIC, but also for our Association. The program was created at the behest of our Association in 2003 and has grown to nearly 27,000 enrollees.

Budget Conference Underway

Insurance Moratorium Pending

JUNE 6, 2014: Following the passage of the Fiscal Year 2015 budget in both the House and Senate, legislative conferees are now negotiating a final unified state budget that will likely receive final approval in late June or early July.

Senate Budget Debate Begins Wednesday

Insurance Moratorium Pending

MAY 20, 2014: State Senators will begin debate on the FY15 budget beginning Wednesday morning. The debate, which is expected to last at least three days, will determine the Senate’s version of the state budget for the coming year.

Of utmost importance to our Association is amendment #89, filed by Senator Ken Donnelly (D-Arlington). Senators McGee, Lewis, Moore, Keenan and DiDomenico have signed onto the amendment as cosponsors.

Pension Deal Edges Detroit a Step Closer to Recovery

New York Times
April 16, 2014

Detroit’s pension boards and a retirees’ group say they have reached tentative agreements with the city that could serve as a breakthrough in its quest to settle with its major creditors and propel itself out of bankruptcy before the end of the year.

JEFF JACOBY PUBLIC PENSION OPINION IS COMPLETELY OFF BASE

APRIL 10, 2014: In the Sunday, March 23, 2014 edition of the Boston Globe, conservative opinion columnist Jeff Jacoby penned an op-ed titled "Public pensions are eating taxpayers alive".

Winchester retiree health costs revisited

By Kathy McCabe
Globe Staff April 10, 2014

Winchester selectmen have scaled back a plan to make retirees pay half the cost of their health insurance premiums, a plan that ignited a backlash from retired town workers.

The Board of Selectmen now proposes increasing premiums to 30 percent for people who retired before 2004, and phasing in the plan over an 18-month period, starting July 1. Later retirees would still pay 50 percent of their premiums, but it would be phased in over two years, according to the proposal.

Retirees Mourn Boston Tragedy

Retirees Mourn Boston Tragedy

MARCH 27, 2014: On behalf of our members, the Association offers the deepest condolences to the families of Boston Fire Lt. Edward J. Walsh and Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy, as well as to the Boston Fire Department. The two members of Boston Fire Fighters Local 718 were tragically lost on Wednesday, while fighting a nine-alarm fire on Beacon Street in Boston’s Back Bay.

Good News Flows From GIC

Good News Flows From GIC

FY2015 Insurance Rates Hold Steady at 1% Increase

MARCH 6, 2014: State and municipal retirees, receiving their health insurance through the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC), received welcome good news on Wednesday – health insurance premiums for FY15 will remain largely unchanged.

ALERT: BOSTON MEMBERS ON ACCIDENTAL DISABILITY

Help With Your Form 1099-R

We’ve been receiving calls and emails from Boston members who receive an accidental (work related) disability pension. They were surprised to see that the federal income tax statement they recently received from the Boston Retirement Board, known as Form 1099-R, was totally different from the forms they received in previous years.

President Drops Chained CPI Proposal From Federal Budget

FEBRUARY 21, 2014: Heeding calls from retiree advocates (including our Association) and Democratic Leaders, President Obama has dropped a provision from his federal budget proposal that would have used the chained CPI to calculate Social Security COLAs.

Obama to drop entitlement cuts from 2015 budget

By REID J. EPSTEIN and EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE | 2/20/14 1:34 PM EST Updated: 2/21/14 5:36 AM EST

President Barack Obama is done pretending that he’ll get any new budget cooperation from House Republicans.

His proposed 2015 budget, due to be released next month, will stick to the economic strategy the White House has laid out without the compromise suggestion he floated last year, White House officials said Thursday.

GIC Announces 2014 Health Fair Schedule

FEBRUARY 19, 2014: Annual open enrollment for the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) is set to run from April 9 – May 7, 2014. If you receive your insurance through the GIC this is your opportunity to make changes to your insurance coverage for the coming fiscal year.

Middleborough Retirees Get Their Day In Court

Middleborough Retirees Get Their Day In Court

Argue Before State’s Highest Court

February 5, 2014: For more than 6 years, we’ve been reporting on the activities of the Middleborough Retiree Insurance Group (MRIG) which organized back in ’07. “Our Association has a tradition of working with local retiree groups, particularly on the issues of municipal health insurance and local pension COLAs (Cost-of-Living Adjustments),” according to President Valeri. “That relationship includes Middleboro.

Association Meets With Federal Officials

Association Meets With Federal Officials

Social Security & Medicare Central Issues

FEBRUARY 1, 2014: This past week Association President Frank Valeri and Legislative Liaison Shawn Duhamel met with members of the Massachusetts’ Congressional Delegation in Washington, DC.

Valeri and Duhamel were in the nation’s capital to attend the annual legislative conference of the National Conference of Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS), to which the Association belongs. They met with the offices of all nine members of Congress, as well as Senior Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Mass. pension fund posts 15.2% gain for ’13

Managers add $7.9 billion to accounts, with biggest increases coming from US stocks

By Beth Healy
Globe Staff  
January 22, 2014

The Massachusetts state pension fund posted a 15.2 percent investment gain for 2013, as strong markets helped the fund’s managers add $7.9 billion to the retirement accounts of public employees.

US stocks provided the biggest boost to the fund, climbing 33.7 percent during the year, followed by investments in private equity, which rose 21.1 percent.

Gov. Patrick Files Final Budget Proposal

Includes 3% COLA & Funding Schedule Changes

JANUARY 22, 2014: Within the final budget proposal of his eight-year tenure as governor, Deval Patrick chose to include two provisions of critical long term importance to public retirees and surviving spouses.

As he has consistently done in the past, the governor has recommended a full 3% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for state and teacher retirees who retired before July 1, 2013. Like 2013, the new COLA will be paid on a base of $13,000.

Aggressive Start to 2014

Public Service Committee Meets

JANUARY 2, 2014: The Joint Committee on Public Service is off to an aggressive start early in 2014 with a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday, January 7th at 11:00 AM.

Tuesday’s hearing will focus on legislation impacting group classification of active employees. As members know, Massachusetts’ public retirement is organized into four groups (1-4), which are set in statute by the legislature.

Ralph White Reelected in Landslide

New 3-Year Term On State Retirement Board

DECEMBER 10, 2013: The Association’s Ralph White has been reelected to a new 3-year term on the State Retirement Board. White topped the ticket in a landslide, winning by more than 11,000 votes.

He received 79% of the total votes cast by the members of the State Retirement System. White has served on the Board since 1996.

Judge Approves Detroit Pension Cuts

Situation In Mass. Vastly Different

DECEMBER 4, 2013: A federal bankruptcy judge has granted approval for the City of Detroit to move forward with its bankruptcy protection plan – a plan that will include cuts to the pensions of existing city retirees and future benefits of active employees.

Massachusetts Joins Institutional Carbon Clash

Massachusetts Joins Institutional Carbon Clash

NOVEMBER 21, 2013: An article in today’s DCDB Daily Free E-Newsletter says that Massachusetts Treasurer and Receiver General Steve Grossman, Chairman of the Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board, manager of the state’s more than $54 billion Pension Reserve Investment Trust (PRIT), has lodged support for mission-based investing focused on climate change.

Following Packed Hearing H59 Under Review

Following Packed Hearing H59 Under Review

2013 Legislative Session Winds Down

NOVEMBER 12, 2013: Hundreds of public employees from across all walks of state and local government made their concerns known at a packed public hearing on retiree healthcare reform on October 31st.

The hearing, on H59, was held before the Joint Committee on Public Service. Chaired by Senator William Brownsberger (D-Belmont) and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (D-North End), the Public Service Committee is now conducting a thorough review of the bill.

FEDS ANNOUNCE 2014 CPI: 1.5%

No Increase For Medicare Part B Premium

OCTOBER 30, 2013: Today, the Social Security Administration announced that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous 12 months (September ’12 to Oct ’13) is 1.5%. The announcement follows recent reports by the Federal Reserve detailing historically low inflation.

RETIREE HEALTHCARE REFORM REENTERS SPOTLIGHT

Public Hearing on H59 Thursday

OCTOBER 28, 2013: Arguably the biggest issue to come before the legislature during the current two-year session reenters center stage on Beacon Hill this week, when H59, the much watched Retiree Healthcare Reform proposal, receives a public hearing.

DISABILITY BILL HEARING TUESDAY

Healthcare Reform Set For Halloween

OCTOBER 18, 2013: On Tuesday, the Joint Committee on Public Service will conduct a public hearing that includes legislation filed by the Association relative to disability retirement.

The bills, filed on our behalf by Representative Tacky Chan (D-Quincy), propose to improve the ordinary disability benefit for future retirees, as well as alter the oversight of disability retirees.

HEALTH EXCHANGE KICKOFF: No Impact On Current Insurance Plans

OCTOBER 1, 2013: Today marks the nationwide kickoff of the new health insurance exchanges, the main component of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly called Obamacare. Between now and December 15, individuals can sign up for one of the health insurance plans being offered through their state’s exchange, with insurance coverage