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HEALTHCARE COMMISSION MEETS

Proposals Begin To Take Shape

JULY 18, 2012: The Special Commission on Retiree Healthcare met for more than two hours Wednesday morning in an effort to develop a list of potential reform measures to place before an actuary for cost analysis.

RETIREE HEALTHCARE COMMISSION TO MEET

Reform Proposals Taking Shape

JULY 16, 2012: The Special Commission on Retiree Healthcare will enter the next phase of its deliberations this Wednesday, July 18th, when it convenes its third meeting in as many months.

Comprised of 11 members, the Commission’s purpose is to study and investigate both the long-term and ongoing cost of public retiree healthcare. The Commission is then to file a report with the Legislature by November 30, detailing its findings and making recommendations for further reforms.

Blue Cross plan shows reduction in spending

By Liz Kowalczyk
Globe Staff  

July 11, 2012

The largest private-sector effort to tame medical spending in Massachusetts appears to be getting results, as doctors who agreed to work on a budget have cut costs by using less-expensive imaging and lab companies and expanding office hours to reduce emergency room use.

State officials say new law has saved more than $175m in health insurance premiums for municipalities, school districts

July 11, 2012

By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

Massachusetts officials said today that a new law designed to help municipalities and school districts reduce their health insurance costs has saved more than $175 million in premium costs for 127 municipalities and districts.

Superintendents circumvent state pension law

By Deirdre Fernandes
Globe Staff  
July 07, 2012

By seeking and winning salary ­increases, school superintendents across the state have maneuvered around a new law aimed at closing a loophole that had allowed employees to boost their pensions by counting fringe benefits as part of their salary.

GOVERNOR APPROVES RETIREE BUDGET AMENDMENTS

3% State & Teacher COLA On $13k Base Included

JULY 9, 2012: On Sunday, Governor Patrick signed the $32.6 billion FY13 state budget into law. Contained within the budget is a new 3% State & Teacher COLA, a minimum survivor pension increase for disability retirees’ survivors and access to the Group Insurance Commission’s retiree dental plan for municipal retirees insured under the state plan.

LEGISLATURE PASSES RETIREE AMENDMENTS

Extends Dental & Survivor Benefits

JUNE 28, 2012: Retirees and survivors were greeted with good news late last night, as House and Senate budget negotiators announced an agreement on the $32.5 billion FY13 state budget. Beyond a 3% state & teacher COLA on the new $13,000 base are two long-sought benefit enhancements.

RI Judge to review pension deal with city workers

Boston Globe June 26, 2012: A lawyer representing city retirees in Providence is expected to tell a judge they have approved a deal freezing automatic pension hikes and restructuring health benefits — a victory for Mayor Angel Taveras that is expected to keep the state capital out of municipal bankruptcy. Joseph Penza, a lawyer who represents about 1,300 municipal retirees, said he plans to present the results of the retirees’ vote to Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter on Tuesday.

Mass. needs more realistic goal for pension fund returns

Boston Globe Editorial, June 24, 2012

In some ways, lowering expectations for returns on the state’s pension fund investments is an easy call. Current state law requires the Massachusetts pension board to assume an 8.25 percent annualized rate of return, but in recent years that has come to seem too optimistic. Massachusetts needs to start stepping its pension expectations down — but in a deliberate way, to limit the impact on government agencies that will need to contribute more.

On pensions, Boston should avoid extra annual hike

Boston Globe Editorial, June 24, 2012:

GIC DEADLINE EXTENDED

Peabody & Orange Eye January Entry

JUNE 20, 2012: A newly enacted change to insurance law has opened the door for mid-year entry into the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC). Unless otherwise provided by special act, enrollment in the GIC has traditionally begun on July 1.

Under Chapter 118, the FY13 Supplemental Budget signed into law by Governor Patrick on June 19, 2012, municipalities may now also enter the GIC on January 1, if they notify the agency of their intention to do so by July 1 of the previous year.

COLAs: FOCUS OF GLOBE ARTICLE

COLAs: FOCUS OF GLOBE ARTICLE

Piece Fair But Incomplete Picture

JUNE 18, 2012: Figures don’t tell the full story when pension cost-of-living increases are discussed in the press.

Boston considers hike in retirees’ pensions

By Andrew Ryan,
Globe Staff

June 18, 2012: As cities and states across the nation take aim at public employee pensions, Boston City Hall is engaged in a very different debate: how much to increase retirees’ checks.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino is proposing to boost the annual cost-of-living adjustment for most pensioners from $360 to $390, a $30 increase. City Council president Stephen J. Murphy is pushing for more, seeking a $90 increase over the current rate.

State Loses Top Pension Fund Manager

State Loses Top Pension Fund Manager

JUNE 11, 2012: The resignation of Stan Mavromates, the longtime chief investment officer of the Commonwealth’s $50 billion pension fund, has caused some concern among the retirement systems of the Commonwealth holding membership in the fund.

Although the bulk of the Fund is the State and Teachers’ Pension fund, the majority of our 103 city, town and county boards have placed their pension funds within PRIT and depend on PRIT’s investment earnings to increase the growth and value of their own funds.

Southeastern Mass Brunch This Friday

Southeastern Mass Brunch This Friday

Last Year, we held our first brunch meeting for our members living in the Southeastern region. Because of its success, we're going to do it once again - different date but same place and time.

Friday, June 15, 2012, 11:00 am

Radison Hotel - Plymouth Harbor
180 Water Street, Plymouth

There are plenty of door prizes, as well as guest speakers, and no charge!

ASSOCIATION DEFENDS RETIREE HEALTHCARE BENEFITS

ASSOCIATION DEFENDS RETIREE HEALTHCARE BENEFITS

Presents Report To Special Commission

JUNE 1, 2012: The Special Commission on Retiree Healthcare held its second meeting on Thursday, May 31. Similar to its inaugural meeting in April, the Commission used this meeting to continue its fact-finding inquiry into both state and local retiree healthcare benefits.

State error delays teachers’ benefits

JUNE 1, 2012: State Treasurer Steven Grossman has launched an internal investigation after an ­error by his office delayed benefits payments to about 53,000 retired teachers.

The problem, which affected 92 percent of retired educators whose Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System benefits are electronically deposited into their bank accounts, has been rectified, but the deposits may not go through until Friday, Grossman said.

CORPORATE AMERICA: THE HEIGHT OF ARROGANCE

CORPORATE AMERICA: THE HEIGHT OF ARROGANCE

MAY 23, 2012: A series of articles by the Boston Globe’s Brian McGrory highlighted the excessive salary and perks of Edmund "Ted" Kelly, former CEO of Liberty Mutual here in Massachusetts.

Aside from his multi-million dollar salary, Kelly was a close friend of Liberty Mutual’s Board of Directors, millionaires themselves, who OK’d Kelly’s $50 million salary/compensation package. They each received an annual $200,000 in director’s pay.

SENATE BUDGET DEBATE UNDERWAY

Retirees Eye Amendments

MAY 22, 2012: The state Senate is now in the midst of its debate of the Commonwealth’s $32 billion FY13 budget. Debate on the 694 amendments is expected to last from Wednesday through Friday.

While the Senate has included a full 3% state and teachers COLA within its budget and maintained state retiree insurance rates, there is still work that remains to be done. With the support of Senator Ken Donnelly (D-Arlington), our Association has sponsored two budget amendments.

ANNUAL JUNE LUNCHEON

Space is Limited, Reserve Your Tickets Today!

MAY 11, 2012: June is just around the corner and with it comes our Annual Greater Boston Luncheon to be held on June 22, 2012 at 12:00 noon. Once again, it will be held at the Holiday Inn, Route 1, Dedham.

Our Annual Spring Luncheon is a great opportunity to enjoy lunch with your former coworkers and fellow retirees, while hearing the latest retirement and healthcare news from Association officials. Guests are always welcome at our events as well.

BUDGET DEBATE UNDERWAY IN HOUSE

3% COLA Approved & GIC Rates Maintained

APRIL 25, 2012: This week, debate is underway in the House of Representatives over the Fiscal Year 2013 State Budget. The weeklong debate will consider over 850 amendments to the $32 billion budget proposal.

GIC STATE RETIREES & SURVIVORS UNDER MEDICARE

OME Rates Clarified

APRIL 18, 2012: For the overwhelming majority of Medicare eligible retirees insured through the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC), the insurance plan of choice has long been the Optional Medicare Extension (OME) Plan run by UniCare. Typically, most OME subscribers also include CIC coverage with their basic plan.

COMMISSION FOCUSES ON HEALTHCARE FINANCES

COMMISSION FOCUSES ON HEALTHCARE FINANCES

Recent Insurance & Pension Reforms May Lower Costs

APRIL 6, 2012: On Thursday, the Special Commission to Study Retiree Healthcare held the first of its seven scheduled meetings at the State House. With 9 of its 11 members present, the Commission heard from a series of experts who outlined the complex issues under consideration.

HEALTH CARE COMMISSION GETS UNDERWAY

Focus On Retiree Insurance Cost

APRIL 3, 2012: As we have previously reported, the Association will take part in the Special Commission on Retiree Health Care that gets underway Thursday, April 5.

The eleven-member Commission, created within Chapter 176, Acts of 2011 (Pension Reform), is tasked with further exploring various means by which retiree health insurance costs might be lowered.

Insurers, flexibility, and savings

By Steven Syre
Globe Columnist  
March 30, 2012

The most interesting social experiments start with one basic question: What does it take to make people change the way they do something important?

Health insurance companies doing business in Massachusetts are wrestling with that question right now. They are rolling out all kinds of new medical insurance products, trying to figure out what kinds of limits and restrictions people are willing to accept in order to save money on their premiums.