Retirees & Unions Make Case on Healthcare Protections

Litany of Bills Before Public Service Committee


Litany of Bills Before Public Service Committee


SEPTEMBER 19, 2017: Today, Mass Retirees officials joined public employee union leaders and others in testimony before the Joint Committee on Public Service on a litany of bills related to retiree and employee life and health insurance.


The Committee is Chaired by Representative Gerald Parisella (D-Beverly) and Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington). This hearing marked Friedman’s first as Senate Chair, having been elected in this summer’s special election following the death of Senator Ken Donnelly. Friedman, who our Association endorsed, served for nearly a decade as Donnelly’s chief of staff.


Testifying on behalf of Mass Retirees was Association President Frank Valeri and Legislative Director Shawn Duhamel. Valeri focused his testimony on legislation to increase the basic state life insurance benefit to $10,000. The bills, S1430 and H2564, propose increasing the benefit for the first time since 1985 when the current benefit was set at $5,000.


Joining Valeri to testify on behalf of increasing the benefit was State Senator Tom McGee (D-Lynn) – the lead sponsor of S1430. McGee outlined a compelling case to the Committee as to why time is overdue to raise the life benefit – primary of which is that today’s burial and funeral costs far exceed those which existed in 1985.


For his part, Duhamel tackled the five health insurance related bills filed by Mass Retirees for the 2017-18 session (H2567, H1366, S1402, S1449, and S1474). The bills seek to relieve the pressure now placed on retirees, who face the constant threat of rising out-of-pocket costs, increased premiums and reductions in benefits.


“For more than a decade, Mass Retirees has worked as a coalition with the AFL-CIO and every public employee union to protect both retiree and active employee health insurance benefits. Together we are working to give our members a greater voice when it comes to healthcare benefits, as well as advance legislation protecting your rights,” explains Duhamel. “Our members deserve greater protection when it comes to healthcare and our goal is to pass stronger laws that do just that over the next 10 months.”


Mass Retirees officials will now work closely with Public Service Committee members to advocate for the advancement of life insurance legislation, as well as omnibus legislation to bring about reforms to both the state’s Group Insurance Commission, as well as municipal insurance programs.

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