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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.