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What’s Next for Social Security?

New York Times
Editorial Board

The trustees of Social Security recently reported that the retirement system can pay full benefits until 2035, when it will be able to pay about three-fourths of promised benefits. That is not a crisis. It is a manageable problem.

Is Obamacare Too Complicated to Succeed?

The Affordable Care Act has been under siege since before it even had a name. Some on the right saw it as government overreach. Some on the left considered it better for insurance companies than for consumers. As many of the law’s provisions take effect over the next year, we’re hearing from both sides all over again. This time the theme is that the law is too complex.

SENATE BUDGET INCLUDES 3% STATE & TEACHERS’ COLA

GIC Contribution Percent Intact For State Retirees

May 24, 2013: There are no unwelcome surprises for retirees and survivors in the Senate version of the FY’14 State Budget, approved Thursday night. In fact, the $34 Billion package includes some good news for retired state employees and teachers.

BIPARTISAN REPEAL OF WEP/GPO UNDERWAY

H.R.1795 Introduced In 113th Congress

May 1, 2013: Congressmen, from different states and political parties, have joined together to hopefully correct a longstanding problem that they share in common – and with us here – namely, Social Security’s oppressive Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO).

HOUSE APPROVES 3% STATE/TEACHER COLA

37 Local Systems Adopt July Increase

APRIL 25, 2013: This week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed the $34 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2014, which begins July 1. Contained within the budget is a full 3% COLA for eligible state and teacher retirees, which will be applied to a $13,000 base.

A budget primer for White House budget week

By Josh Hicks
Washington Post
April 8, 2013

RETIREE HEALTHCARE REFORM BILL ON HOLD

Legislative Focus On Taxes & Transportation

APRIL 4, 2013: While concern over potential sweeping changes in retiree healthcare benefits grows amongst active employees, legislative action on Governor Patrick’s H59 now appears to be on a slow track.

DISABILITY REFORM COMMISSION CONSIDERING OPTIONS

Association Pushes For Improvements

MARCH 29, 2013: The Special Commission on Disability Retirement has entered the final phase of its work. This past week, Commission members began to outline potential changes and reforms that might be recommended within the Commission’s report.

After nearly eight months of study and deliberation, the Commission has found no evidence of widespread inefficiency or scandal that would warrant a major reform of the disability law for public employees and retirees.

Talk of Medicare Changes Could Open Way to Budget Pact

New York Times

By JACKIE CALMES and ROBERT PEAR
Published: March 28, 2013

WASHINGTON — As they explore possible fiscal deals, President Obama and Congressional Republicans have quietly raised the idea of broad systemic changes to Medicare that could produce significant savings and end the polarizing debate over Republican plans to privatize the insurance program for older Americans.

LEGISLATURE WEIGHS BUDGET & TAX PROPOSALS

Retiree Healthcare Reform Awaits Action

MARCH 19, 2013: For the first time in nearly a generation, government leaders are strongly weighing options that would increase state revenues – raise taxes – to pay for much needed infrastructure improvements and further investment in education.

With nearly laser-like attention being placed on the issue of taxes and the pending FY14 State Budget, legislative leaders have not begun to address the number one issue on the mind of public retirees and employees – H59, Retiree Healthcare Reform.

GIC ANNOUNCES FY14 INSURANCE RATES

Increase Below State & National Averages

MARCH 6, 2013: Once again the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) has been able to hold the line on insurance premium rate increases, beating both the state and national averages for an average increase of 3.5% across its offering of health plans.

ASSOCIATION JOINS SENATE CONFERENCE CALL & AFL-CIO FORUM

ASSOCIATION JOINS SENATE CONFERENCE CALL & AFL-CIO FORUM

Warren Opposes Chained CPI

MARCH 1, 2013:  On the day when federal sequestration took effect and with a major retiree healthcare reform bill now pending on Beacon Hill, Association officials wrapped up the week by participating in two important forums: A conference call with Massachusetts’ Senior Senator and participating in the AFL-CIO’s Leadership Conference.

GIC RETAINS RETIREE FAVORITE UNICARE

All 6 Health Plans To Continue

FEBRUARY 19, 2013: The state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) voted to retain all six of its current health insurance providers. While the bids have been accepted by the GIC, the specifics of the contract are now being negotiated in advance of the GIC’s March meeting.

Retirees and survivors insured under the GIC’s Optional Medicare Extension (OME) plan are very happy to see that UniCare will continue as the plan’s provider. UniCare also carries the GIC’s indemnity plan, which is widely popular for non-Medicare retirees.

GOVERNOR FILES HEALTHCARE REFORM BILL

H59 Includes Key Retiree Protections

FEBRUARY 16, 2013: This week, Governor Deval Patrick filed a legislative proposal that would significantly change healthcare benefits for future retirees, while grandfathering and protecting current retiree benefits from knee-jerk changes in contribution percentage rates.

NEW HOUSE PUBLIC SERVICE CHAIR NAMED

NEW HOUSE PUBLIC SERVICE CHAIR NAMED

Michlewitz Joins Brownsberger To Head Key Committee

FEBRUARY 8, 2013: State Representative Aaron Michlewitz has been appointed House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Service for the 2013-2014 Legislative Session. The 3rd-term Democrat hails from Boston’s North End, where he was born and raised.

SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM LINGERS

SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM LINGERS

Association Pushes WEP/GPO Inclusion

FEBRUARY 2, 2013: This past week, the Association took part in the annual National Conference of Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) Legislative Conference held in Washington, D.C. While a variety of pension, healthcare and Social Security issues were discussed, one issue was on the top of our agenda – WEP & GPO.

MUNICIPALITIES SAVE $250 MILLION IN HEALTHCARE REFORMS

More Than Double Previous Estimates

FEBRUARY 1, 2013: In the 18-months since the passage of Chapter 69, Acts of 2011, cities and towns have saved an estimated $250 million in health insurance costs.

Known as Municipal Healthcare Reform, Chapter 69 paved the way for municipalities to increase copayments and deductibles up to the level set by the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC). It also allows for cities and towns to join the GIC, if the state plan can provide additional savings.

GOVERNOR PROPOSES 3% STATE & TEACHER COLA

Budget Also Includes Full GIC Funding

JANUARY 24, 2013: Governor Deval Patrick proposed a full 3% COLA increase for eligible state and teacher retirees within his FY 2014 budget proposal filed on Wednesday. In November 2011, the state increased the COLA base for state and teacher retirees to $13,000.

COLA's for municipal and county retirees are the responsibility of local retirement systems. At this time, a number of local systems have begun discussions to approve a 3% COLA for their retirees come July 1.

GOVERNOR TO FILE FY14 BUDGET WEDNESDAY

GOVERNOR TO FILE FY14 BUDGET WEDNESDAY

Retiree Healthcare Bill Not Included

JANUARY 22, 2013: When Governor Deval Patrick files his FY 14 Budget proposal on Wednesday, it is not expected to contain legislation to reform retiree healthcare. Observers now anticipate a stand-alone bill to be filed in late January or early February that mirrors the report filed by the Special Commission on Retiree Healthcare, issued in December.

State retiree health system needs major reforms

Boston Globe Editorial
January 16, 2013

Chained CPI Is a Vote to Cut Social Security Benefits

The following letter was co-authored by Eric Kingson and Nancy Altman, co-chairs of the Strengthen Social Security Coalition, and sent to every Congressional office.

Our coalition of 320 organizations representing a broad cross-section of the American people respectfully urges you to reject the use of the less-generous and less-accurate chained-CPI as the basis for Social Security's cost of living adjustments for current and future seniors, people with disabilities, and other beneficiaries.

PATRICK ENDORSES RETIREE HEALTH COMMISSION REPORT

PATRICK ENDORSES RETIREE HEALTH COMMISSION REPORT

Exempts Current Retirees And Includes Strong Retiree Protections

JANUARY 11, 2013:  Governor Deval Patrick has endorsed a report by the Special Commission on Retiree Healthcare that makes significant changes to public retiree healthcare benefits for future retirees, but not for current retirees. 

GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES PLANS TO FILE LEGISLATION TO REFORM RETIREE HEALTH INSURANCE BENEFITS

Reform Would Tackle Fiscal Challenges Head-On, Save As Much as $20 Billion over the Next 30 Years

BOSTON – Friday, January 11, 2013 – Governor Deval Patrick today announced plans to file legislation to reform health insurance benefits for retirees that would save as much as $20 billion for the Commonwealth and municipalities over the next 30 years.  Today’s announcement builds on the Governor’s record of reform and his Administration’s commitment to fiscal responsibility for the long-run.

Repairs to Medicare

By Editorial Board, Sunday, January 6, 6:54 PM