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Mass Retirees & Unions Meet With GIC

Mass Retirees & Unions Meet With GIC

Focus on Members’ Costs & Future Plan Design

JULY 10, 2019: In what might very well be a first, the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) hosted a near 3-hour meeting with Mass Retirees and the state’s public employee and teacher unions.

Sound, Fury and Prescription Drugs

Despite talk of reform, drug prices keep climbing. Here’s how to change that.

By The NYT Editorial Board

State budget talks again spill into new fiscal year

State budget talks again spill into new fiscal year

By Michael P. Norton, Matt Murphy, Katie Lannan and Chris Lisinski / STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

BOSTON – State lawmakers and Gov. Charlie Baker will head into another new fiscal year Monday without an annual budget in place.

Chairman Neal: Open Letter to Mass Retirees

Chairman Neal: Open Letter to Mass Retirees

New WEP Relief Bill Coming This Summer

JUNE 20, 2019: Mass Retirees is working closely with Mass. Congressman Richard Neal, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, to create a workable proposal to provide relief from the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). The aim of this proposal will be to reform the WEP law to provide relief for current retirees, as well as treat future public retirees fairly.

GIC Open Enrollment Ends Today, May 1st

MAY 1, 2019: The month’s long open enrollment for the state Group Insurance Commission’s (GIC) health and dental insurance plans ends Wednesday, May 1, 2019.

Open enrollment provides an annual opportunity for the 430,000 state and municipal retirees and employees enrolled in the GIC’s insurance plans to make changes to their coverage, including switching insurance carriers. Coverage for FY20 begins on July 1, 2019.

“Opening Day” For Public Service Committee

“Opening Day” For Public Service Committee

Survivor Remarriage Bill Among First Heard 

APRIL 9, 2019: A City of Boston home-rule petition allowing surviving spouses to retain their health insurance coverage upon remarriage was among a dozen bills heard before the Joint Committee on Public Service’s inaugural hearing on Tuesday.

GIC Annual Enrollment Now Underway

GIC Annual Enrollment Now Underway

Benefit Fairs Begin April 10th

APRIL 3, 2019: The state Group Insurance Commission’s annual open enrollment period began today and runs through May 1st. For the 430,000 enrollees insured by the GIC, the open enrollment period allows for changes to be made in choosing insurance providers.

NOT WAITING FOR OTHERS TO ACT

NOT WAITING FOR OTHERS TO ACT

Mass & Texas Lead National Fight To Reform WEP/GPO

MARCH 27, 2019: Working in conjunction with the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA), Mass Retirees has reinitiated an all-out effort to pass legislation to reform the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO).

GIC Announces FY20 Rates

GIC Announces FY20 Rates

1.9% Increase for Popular OME Plan

MARCH 1, 2019: On Thursday the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) delivered good news to the more than 82,000 retirees and surviving spouses insured under its Option Medicare Extension (OME) plan. For Fiscal Year 2020, UniCare OME premiums will increase a meager 1.9% over the current year.

House & Senate Committee Chairs Named

House & Senate Committee Chairs Named

Strong Support for Public Retirees Across Beacon Hill Leadership

FEBRUARY 14, 2019: Valentine’s Day marks the beginning of a new era of legislative leadership on Beacon Hill, with the House and Senate naming committee chairs.

With vacant chairs on both House and Senate Ways and Means Committees, speculation has swirled for months on which two legislators would be tapped to head what are arguably the most important of legislative committee posts. 

DRIVE CONTINUES TO REFORM SOCIAL SECURITY WEP

DRIVE CONTINUES TO REFORM SOCIAL SECURITY WEP

Finding Solution Priority of Key Leaders

FEBRUARY 2019: Mass Retirees officials continue to work with key Congressional leaders to pass a reform of the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). Reform of the 1983 federal law is a top priority of Congressman Richie Neal (D-MA), who now serves as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

GIC Approves 2020 Plan Design

GIC Approves 2020 Plan Design

No Medicare Benefit Changes

FEBRUARY 7, 2019: The 17-member Group Insurance Commission (GIC) met this morning to set insurance plan design for Fiscal Year 2020. Plan design encompasses insurance benefits, as well as copayments and deductibles. Insurance premiums are scheduled to be approved on February 28.

For the coming fiscal year, which begins on July 1, there will be no benefit or copayment changes impacting Medicare supplement plans. GIC Medicare enrollees do not pay annual deductibles.

New Legislative Session Kicks Off

New Legislative Session Kicks Off

Bill Filing Deadline January 18th

JANUARY 3, 2019: The Massachusetts 2019-2020 Legislative Session officially began Tuesday, with the inauguration of the state’s 160 State Representatives and 40 Senators. Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito begin their 2nd term in office today.

FALL RIVER MAYOR IN SPOTLIGHT

FALL RIVER MAYOR IN SPOTLIGHT

In our Association’s last May edition of The Voice we highlighted the Fall River Retirement Board and the City of Fall River itself.

We also named the young Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correira, in a positive sense, highlighting his website message:

Jasiel Correira: “Make it Here” is for the dream chasers, entrepreneurs, business-owned hungry graduates, and all those looking for reinvention in its myriad forms. Because they can make it here in Fall River whether a dream, a destination or the chance at a fresh start at a new day.”

Reducing Poverty for Our Oldest Retirees

Reducing Poverty for Our Oldest Retirees

With more Americans today living into their 80s and beyond, the elderly are becoming more vulnerable to slipping into poverty.

GIC Begins Public Debate on FY20 Plan Design

GIC Begins Public Debate on FY20 Plan Design

Changes Would Begin July 1st

DECEMBER 6, 2018: Today, the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) began the public process of establishing plan design and setting premiums for Fiscal Year 2020. Since all current GIC insurance plans were re-contracted in FY19, Mass Retirees does not anticipate major plan design changes for the coming year.

State Officials Hold Annual Revenue Consensus Hearing

State Officials Hold Annual Revenue Consensus Hearing

Pension Funds Cited As Positive Economic Factor

DECEMBER 5, 2018: This morning the state’s top budget, revenue and fiscal officials conducted what’s known at the Revenue Consensus Hearing. The annual State House meeting kicks off the coming budget debate for FY 2020.

WEP: New Reform Bill Filed

WEP: New Reform Bill Filed

Brady & Neal Seek Compromise With H.R. 6933

In a positive sign that blind partisanship can be set aside for the greater good of the country, new federal legislation was filed in the final days of September that, if passed, would mark the first step toward resolving the unfairness of the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) since the law’s creation in 1983.

Bill Would Rework Limits on Social Security for Some Public Workers

It’s the latest effort by lawmakers to overhaul the “Windfall Elimination Provision," which affects benefits for thousands of state and local government employees around the U.S.

Congressional lawmakers are proposing bipartisan legislation they say would improve the fairness of Social Security for state and local government retirees by revamping a provision that can restrict benefits from the federal retirement program for some public workers.

PERAC Forum Spotlights WEP/GPO Fight

PERAC Forum Spotlights WEP/GPO Fight

Mass Retirees Addresses 300 Retirement Officials 

SEPTEMBER 14, 2018: An important aspect of Mass Retirees’ advocacy efforts to reform the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) laws is to educate the public, as well as policy makers, as to the unfairness and negative impact of the two federal laws. 

50 Years as the Voice of the Retired Public Employee

Founded in the fall of 1968, Mass Retirees has served as the lead advocates for all Massachusetts retired public employees for the past 50 years. 

From the Association’s humble beginnings, our mission has been to represent the interests of all public retirees at the state, local and federal levels of government. Our focus is public pension, Social Security, Medicare and retiree healthcare policy, for which Mass Retirees has become widely recognized for our expertise.

GIC Continues to Examine Health Plan Affordability

Review Comes at Request of Mass Retirees 

AUGUST 7, 2018: Following several years of increased healthcare costs paid by retirees in their insurance through the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC), Mass Retirees called upon the Commission to consider affordability prior to any further increases in cost. 

Legislature Restores Retiree Work Limit To 1,200 Hours

Legislature Restores Retiree Work Limit To 1,200 Hours

Rejects Governor’s Counter Proposal

 AUGUST 1, 2018: Late last night, the Legislature reapproved Mass Retirees proposal increasing the limit on public sector post retirement employment to 1,200 hours annually.

The legislation, which is now known as H4821, increases the hourly limit part time work from the current limit of 960 hours to 1,200 per year. H4821 is now before Governor Charlie Baker, who has 10 days in which to either approve or veto the bill.

Treasurer Goldberg Delivers July COLA

Treasurer Goldberg Delivers July COLA

3% For State & Teacher Retirees

Thanks to State Treasurer Deb Goldberg, as well as the State Employees and Teachers Retirement Boards, the July pension checks of over 127,000 State and Teacher retirees will contain the 3% COLA.

Annual COLA approval for both State and Teacher retirees is handled through the State Budget. Despite being approved in all three versions of the FY19 State Budget (Governor, House, and Senate), this year’s 3% COLA payment was stuck in limbo as budget negotiations extended into mid-July.

Baker Rejects Part-Time Work Limit Increase

Baker Rejects Part-Time Work Limit Increase

Mass Retirees Shocked By Governor’s Counter Proposal

JULY 26, 2018: Governor Charlie Baker has rejected a Mass Retirees proposal that would increase the hourly limit for retirees returning to part-time public sector work. Our proposal, which was also backed by the Mass Police and Professional Fire Fighters, was passed within the FY19 State budget as outside section 29.