September 2019

Legislature Weighs Health Insurance Reform

Legislature Weighs Health Insurance Reform

Rising Costs & Affordability Main Concerns

SEPTEMBER 2019: Earlier this year, Mass Retirees filed six separate legislative proposals relative to health insurance benefits for public retirees and surviving spouses. Known as “bills”, these proposals are now before various legislative committees where public hearings are held, followed by detailed analysis by committee staff.

3% State / Teacher COLA Approved

Work Now Underway On Future COLA Improvements

September 2019: Since the state budget was not be approved by Governor Charlie Baker until July 31st, retired teachers will not receive their COLA payment until August – which is retroactive to July 1.

State retirees, along with members of local and district retirement systems began to receive their FY20 COLA in their July pension check. The annual COLA for local and district retirees is determined and approved by the respective retirement board and is not part of the Commonwealth’s annual budget process.

New COLAs Adopted By All Local Retirement Boards

Entering Their Third Decade of Increases

SEPTEMBER 2019: Not to be outdone by the state and teachers’ retirement systems, all 102 local retirement boards adopted a new COLA beginning this July. If you retired from a local system before July 1, 2018, then you will see an increase in your monthly direct deposit or check.

Local boards are currently in the third decade of adopting such increases. They’ve been able to do so since 1997 when our landmark legislation, Chapter 17, was enacted.

Bad Medicine For Medicare Retirees

Mass Retirees Opposes Voucher-Like Scheme

SEPTEMBER 2019: For more than a decade, public retirees have found their health insurance benefits under near constant siege by those looking to cut costs and reduce government spending. Through it all, Mass Retirees has often found itself engaged as the last line of defense against proposed cuts and changes that would negatively impact public retirees and survivors.

WEP Reform Update: No False Starts

WEP Reform Update: No False Starts

Work continues through the dog days of summer to craft a new proposal to reform the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision. The bill, which is being drafted by Congressman Richard Neal, was on track to be released in July. More time is needed to work out the fine details, in order to avoid a false start. While details are still being ironed out, the federal legislation will likely focus on two changes to the WEP law. The first, is aimed at providing relief for those retirees whose Social Security benefits have already been reduced because of WEP. Second, a long-term reform is needed that will treat all public and private future retirees fairly. It is estimated that nearly 100,000 Mass Retirees are now impacted by WEP. This number grows daily. Mass Retirees and Chairman Neal have a strong partnership in working to resolve this issue for all members.