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LEGIS, BAKER ACT TO SAVE RETIRED TEACHERS ON HEALTH INSURANCE

Urgent legislation required to spare a group of retired public employees, mostly teachers, from a spike in health care costs next year sped through the legislative chambers on Monday and Gov. Charlie Baker quickly signed his name to the bill he filed just over a week ago. The new law will merge roughly 10,000 retirees into the main pool of Group Insurance Commission members, enabling them to avoid cost spikes, according to the governor and GIC officials.

Legislation Moving For RMT Insurance Fix

Legislation Moving For RMT Insurance Fix

Mass Retirees Joins GIC in Calling For Swift Action

March 20, 2018: The closing minutes of winter 2018 marked a joint effort by the Group Insurance Commission and Mass Retirees to pass emergency legislation to merge the GIC’s two insurance pools.

BILL POISED FOR FAST TRACK TO AVOID HEALTH INSURE $$$ SPIKE FOR RETIRED TEACHERS

By Matt Murphy
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, MARCH 20, 2018....House and Senate leaders said Tuesday they will try to quickly pass a bill filed by Gov. Charlie Baker, perhaps as soon as this week, in an effort to avoid steep health insurance premium spikes for nearly 1,000 retired teachers and elderly government retirees.

Retired Municipal Teacher Reform Legislation Filed

Mass Retirees Urges Quick Action

March 16, 2018: Prompted by Mass Retirees’ calls for reform of the Group Insurance Commission’s Retired Municipal Teacher (RMT) Program, legislation has been filed today by Governor Baker that places RMT enrollees in the same insurance pool (Pool 1) as other state and local retirees. Association officials are now calling upon Legislative Leadership to act quickly on this before the GIC’s Open Enrollment begins on April 4.

Cigna to Buy Express Scripts in $52 Billion Health Care Deal

The health insurance giant Cigna said on Thursday that it had agreed to buy Express Scripts, the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit manager, in a $52 billion deal that could further reshape the roiling health care landscape.

The Real Reason the Investor Class Hates Pensions

By DAVID WEBBER, New York Times MARCH 5, 2018

No issue in America today better illustrates the divergent interests of working Americans and the 1 percent than pension reform. Substantial empirical evidence shows that America’s favored retirement vehicle — the 401(k), recently renounced by its own inventors — is grossly inadequate and will leave tens of millions of Americans with insufficient retirement assets.

Push For WEP Reform Continues

Push For WEP Reform Continues

National Coalition Meets in DC

FEBRUARY 27, 2018: Key representatives from states impacted by the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) met in Washington, DC this week, as pressure to pass reform legislation continues to mount.

Mass Retirees joined key WEP reform ally, the 88,000 member-strong Texas Retired Teachers Association, for the annual meeting of the Coalition to Preserve Retirement Security. CPRS is a national organization of public retirement system and advocacy group officials from non-Social Security states.

After health-insurance controversy, most public workers to avoid large premium increases

After health-insurance controversy, most public workers to avoid large premium increases

By Priyanka Dayal McCluskey GLOBE STAFF  FEBRUARY 22, 2018

Massachusetts public employees and retirees received an unusual bit of good news from state officials Thursday: their health insurance premiums are not rising significantly — and costs for many will actually decrease.

GIC Health Plan Rates Hold Steady For FY19

GIC Health Plan Rates Hold Steady For FY19

Many Retirees Will See Lower Premiums

February 22, 2018: Today, the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) approved health plan premiums for FY19. For the first time in recent memory, the average increase across all six GIC health plans is zero percent.

Beginning in June, the majority of retirees enrolled in GIC health plans will see a slight decrease in their monthly insurance premiums. For both retirees and active employees, the inflationary and premium rates vary by health plan.

GIC To Announce Insurance Premiums Thursday

GIC To Announce Insurance Premiums Thursday

No Major Increases or Changes Expected

FEBRUARY 21, 2018: The state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) is scheduled to meet this Thursday to set health, life and dental insurance premiums for FY19, which begins on July 1.

On average premium insurances are anticipated to increase less than 2% across the six health insurance providers offered by the GIC. Those providers are Fallon, Harvard Pilgrim, Health New England, Neighborhood Health Plan, Tufts and UniCare.

Retiree Legislation On The Move

Retiree Legislation On The Move

5 Key Issues Advanced By Public Service Committee

Association members received good news this month when the Joint Committee on Public Service favorably released five key bills filed by Mass Retirees. The bills apply to the veterans bonus, basic life insurance, Option C recalculation, post retirement earnings, and the right of surviving spouses to retain health insurance benefits upon remarriage.

Mass Retirees Endorses Theresa McGoldrick

Mass Retirees Endorses Theresa McGoldrick

For Reelection to State Retirement Board

State Retirees and active employees should be aware that an election is now underway for one of two seats on the State Board of Retirement. These elected officials are your representatives on the five-member Board.

As members know, Mass Retirees President Frank Valeri currently serves as one of the two elected members on the State Retirement Board. His term will end December 2019.

WEP Reform Remains Key Congressional Issue

WEP Reform Remains Key Congressional Issue

Optimism Follows Budget Deal

Our office has been inundated with calls from anxious members seeking information on the fate of the Mass Retirees backed federal proposal to reform the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). With a growing majority of members victimized by the WEP and losing thousands of dollars a year in Social Security benefits, it is no wonder that interest remains high.

GIC Seeks Options For RMT Enrollees

GIC Seeks Options For RMT Enrollees

Teachers’ Program Dates to 1972

Mass Retirees and teacher union officials are urging the GIC to seek ways to expand the health insurance offerings available to the 10,000 teachers participating in the Retired Municipal Teacher (RMT) program. As the only respondent to the GIC’s procurement process last fall, UniCare is set to become the sole health insurance provider for RMTs in FY19.

GIC 2018 Open Enrollment April 4 – May 2

GIC 2018 Open Enrollment April 4 – May 2

13 Health Fairs Scheduled Across Massachusetts

The state’s Group Insurance Commission has set April 4 through May 2, 2018 as the annual Open Enrollment period to enrollees to change insurance plans or enroll in the GIC’s Retiree Dental Plan. Any changes in plan selection or coverage take effect on July 1, 2018.

GIC Sets FY19 Health Benefit Design

GIC Sets FY19 Health Benefit Design

No Increases In Copays & Deductibles

FEBRUARY 8, 2018: The state’s Group Insurance Commission has unanimously approved health insurance plan design for FY19, covering all six carriers and slightly lowering costs for some enrollees. Heeding calls from Mass Retirees and all public employee/teacher unions, copayments and deductibles will not increase for the coming year.

GIC VOTES 12-2 TO UNDO HEALTH PLAN CONSOLIDATION

GIC VOTES 12-2 TO UNDO HEALTH PLAN CONSOLIDATION

Upending a controversial move to cut three carriers from the health insurance menu available to public employees, the Group Insurance Commission voted as forecast on Thursday to reconsider its Jan. 18 vote.

GIC To Reconsider Health Plan Consolidation

GIC To Reconsider Health Plan Consolidation

Announcement Made At Packed Public Hearing

 

Retirees Call On GIC to Reconsider Plan Consolidation & Cap Costs

Mass Retirees has called on the state’s Group Insurance Commission to reconsider the decision to consolidate health plans, cap copayments and deductibles, and institute a new approval process for health plan selection and plan design that invites public comment.

 

Outrage Builds Over GIC Plan Consolidation

Harvard Pilgrim & Fallon Dropped; Tufts Now Medicare Only

 

JANUARY 19, 2018: Thursday, the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) shocked enrollees by voting to drop Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare and Fallon as providers. The move also relegates Tufts to a Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans only. All changes take effect on July 1, 2018 with the start of the new fiscal year.