Latest News

GIC OME Subscribers: Do Not Opt Out of SilverScript Plan

Only Impacts Certain Medicare Enrollees

NOVEMBER 21, 2015: Members who are insured under the state Group Insurance Commission’s (GIC) Option Medicare Extension (OME) plan will have a new prescription drug provider as of January 1, 2016.

As the GIC and our Association have been reporting for nearly a year, prescription coverage under the OME plan is being transferred SilverScript. Under federal law, retirees must be given the opportunity to “Opt Out” of the new drug plan.

Budget deal blunts, but doesn’t erase, increase in Medicare premiums

The tentative budget agreement forged by congressional leaders and the Obama administration will ward off a historic spike in Medicare premiums for the coming year, but it will nevertheless require nearly one in three older Americans to pay 17 percent more in monthly premiums for doctors’ visits and other outpatient care.

Federal Budget Deal Contains Medicare Fix

Federal Budget Deal Contains Medicare Fix

Warren, Neal, Clark, McGovern and Tsongas Help Protect Retirees

OCTOBER 27, 2015: The federal government is about to come to the aid of public retirees who have been bracing for a major increase in Medicare Part B premiums for 2016.

No Social Security COLA for 2016

Medicare Rates May Increase for Some Retirees

OCTOBER 9, 2015: A flat Consumer Price Index (CPI) means there will be no COLA increase under Social Security for 2016. The CPI-W is the federal standard used to calculate inflation.

Since 1987, a national debate has raged as to whether or not the CPI-W is an accurate gauge for retirees. Many, including our Association, feel a more accurate measure is the CPI-E (Elderly), which looks to inflationary pressures such as healthcare costs that impact retirees on a larger scale.

Join Us! Springfield Area Meeting This Week

On Wednesday, October 7th, our Association will hold its first ever Springfield-Area meeting. The meeting begins at 11:00 AM at the Dante Club in West Springfield. All members are invited to attend. Guests are also welcome.

Dante Club
1198 Memorial Ave.
West Springfield, MA

STATE BOARD BEGINS TO PAY ERIP RETIREES

Work Continues On Remaining Applications

On August 31, approximately 600 former state employees, who retired under the Employee Retirement Incentive Program (ERIP), will be receiving their first pension payment, retroactive to June 30, 2015. According to the ERIP law (Chapter 19, Acts of 2015), the State Retirement Board had 120 days (4 months) from the date of retirement (June 30) to issue pensions to the ERIP retirees.

Bill would have state set raises for retirees

By Cliff Clark
Sentinel & Enterprise

Basic Life Insurance Bill Advances

Public Service Committee Grants Favorable Report

AUGUST 11, 2015: Legislation that would increase the basic life insurance benefit for state retirees and active employees has been released with a favorable report by the Joint Committee on Public Service.

Association officials worked closely with Committee Chairmen Rep. Jamie Murphy (D-Weymouth) and Senator Jim Timilty (D-Walpole) in recent months to advance the legislation forward prior to the start of the FY17 state budget cycle.

3% COLA For State & Teacher Retirees

Treasurer Goldberg to Include Payment in July Pensions

JULY 21, 2014: Following Governor Charlie Baker’s approval of the 3% COLA for state and teacher retirees, Treasurer Deb Goldberg saw to it that the 1st payment for FY16 will be included in the July pension check.

3rd time not a charm, as Leominster board again denies pension raise for retirees

By Cliff Clark, cclark@sentinelandenterprise.com

LEOMINSTER -- The third attempt to secure an annual pension increase for city retirees failed like the first two at a meeting Tuesday morning of the city's Retirement Board.

"You ought to be ashamed of yourselves," one person shouted from a crowd of more than 50 city retirees and supporters at the board as three of its members raised their hands to deny city retirees a 1.7 percent cost-of-living increase.

Retirement Board to again take up COLA

LEOMINSTER -- Just seven days after the Retirement Board voted down the first cost-of-living increase for city retirees in five years, another attempt will be made at 9 a.m. Tuesday, according to one board member.

"We're going to try again to get a COLA for city retirees," said elected board member John Picone.

During last week's meeting, the board voted twice on proposals to raise the COLA 3 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Tempers rise -- but not pensions for Leominster

LEOMINSTER -- Tension between the chairman of the Retirement Board, other board members and city retirees erupted into open hostility at a meeting Tuesday, when another attempt at securing a cost-of-living raise for pensioners failed.

"You've been lying to this board," elected Retirement Board member John Picone said to Chairman John Richard, who is also the city comptroller, in front of more than 40 city retirees in the Council Chambers of City Hall. "You've been lying to me. You've been lying to the people out here for years.

Fossil-fuel divestiture hearing: Retirees’ interests vs. environmental concerns

John Hilliard
State House News Service
June 9, 2015

During a packed hearing late Tuesday morning, supporters of bills that would divest public pensions from fossil fuel energy industry over concerns that relying on profits from those companies helps contribute to climate change.

Early retirement plan drawing fewer applicants than predicted

Governor Charlie Baker’s early retirement plan is on pace to draw fewer applicants than his administration predicted, a gap that could prompt state government layoffs later this year.

FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT TAKES CENTER STAGE

FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT TAKES CENTER STAGE

Mass Retirees Supports Formal Study, Urges Caution

JUNE 10, 2015: On Tuesday, the complex issue of public pension fund divestment of fossil fuel investments took center stage at the Massachusetts State House. 

Membership Reminder: BJ’s Discounts Now Available

Offer Extended Through June 30th!

JUNE 5, 2015: Mass Retirees is happy to announce that our exclusive discount program with BJ’s Wholesale Club has been extended through June 30, 2015. Retirees must be a dues paying Mass Retirees member in order to qualify for the program.

Death of Pittsfield's Gerard Miller

Death of Pittsfield's Gerard Miller

It is with great sadness that Mass Retirees announces the death of our long-time Western Mass. Vice President Gerard “Jerry” Miller. Jerry was a retired Pittsfield Fire Lieutenant and chairman of the Pittsfield Retirement Board.

State clears way for 5,000 workers to retire early

Some fear move may hurt services

By Joshua Miller Globe Staff  May 05, 2015

Governor Charlie Baker signed an early retirement plan Monday that will soon reduce the state workforce by up to 5,000 employees — a move that is expected to save money but quickly raised worries about an erosion of state services.

Though state lawmakers had expressed some initial skepticism, the House and Senate gave final approval to the proposal hours before the governor signed it. The votes were a victory for Baker and his effort to bridge a daunting state budget shortfall.

Gov. Charlie Baker signs state employee retirement incentive program into law

By Shira Schoenberg
May 04, 2015 at 5:15 PM

BOSTON - Gov. Charlie Baker signed a law establishing a retirement incentive for state employees, on the same day the Legislature sent the bill to his desk.

"We're very happy with the Legislature's compromise on this, and we're thrilled that they acted expeditiously to get this done," Baker told reporters at the Statehouse. "I appreciate the fact that it was a complicated piece of legislation to begin with, and we're looking forward to moving forward on the act of actually implementing it."

Early Retirement Bill Now Law

Up To 5,000 State Workers May Retire By June 30th

MAY 4, 2015: Late today Governor Charlie Baker signed the much anticipated state early retirement incentive plan (ERIP) into law. Limited in scope, the bill only applies to a target set of state workers. Municipal employees, teachers, public safety and higher education, among others, are not eligible for the ERIP.

Governor Baker filed legislation calling for a limited ERIP in order to reduce the state's workforce in the face of a reported $1.8 billion state deficit.

New Law to Strip Social Security Numbers From Medicare Cards

WASHINGTON — Concerned about the rising prevalence and sophistication of identity theft, most private health insurance companies have abandoned the use of Social Security numbers to identify individuals. The federal government even forbids private insurers to use the numbers on insurance cards when they provide medical or drug benefits under contract with Medicare.

Agreement Between GIC and U-Mass Medical

Open Enrollment Begins

APRIL 7, 2015: At the proverbial 11th hour, U-Mass Medical Group agreed to a new contract with the state’s Group Insurance Commission and its basic indemnity plan carrier, UniCare.

For months U-Mass Medical had baulked at agreeing to a new UniCare contract, despite repeated attempts by the GIC and UniCare officials to broker a deal. The dispute was reportedly due to a disagreement over reimbursement rates paid to U-Mass. Officials claimed that the rates offered by the GIC through UniCare were too low.

Eastern Mass. Meeting

Mass Retirees will hold its annual Somerville, MA meeting on Friday, April 10th. The meeting begins at 11:00 AM and lasts approximately 90 minutes. All members are welcome to bring a guest. Door prizes will be drawn for those in attendance.

Holiday Inn Somerville, 30 Washington St., Somerville, MA

Baker’s early retirement plan could see House vote this week

By Joshua Miller
Globe Staff  March 23, 2015

In a boost for a key part of Governor Charlie Baker’s budget plan, Speaker Robert A. DeLeo Monday backed a pension-sweetening early retirement program that Baker proposed to help close a gnawing state budget gap.

DeLeo said the House of Representatives intends to vote as soon as this week on the plan, which works to entice thousands of state workers to retire early by offering them a chance to boost their pensions by crediting them with up to five additional years of age or work.

Leominster Area Meeting

Friday, March 27, 2015

11:00 am to 1:00 pm

Double Tree By Hilton (Formerly Four Points Sheraton)
99 Erdman Way
Leominster, MA
Rt. 12, Fitchburg Leominster
Exit 12 off Rt. 2