January 2018

Retirees & Unions Call For Balance on State Insurance Board

Legislature Eyes Changing GIC Compesition

If legislative action this fall is any indication, 2018 may finally be the year when Mass Retirees gains a seat on the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC). 

Decision Time For GIC

Affordability Subcommittee Created

Following months of discussion and review, the State’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) is expected to decide on insurance carriers and health plan benefits design early in 2018. The pending decisions by the GIC come at a time of growing concern regarding the ability of retirees and employees to afford escalating costs.

Mass Retirees Holds 1st Telephone Town Hall Meeting

Nearly 3,000 Members Participated

In an effort to enhance communication and outreach with Association members, Mass Retirees conducted its first Telephone Town Hall in November. Nearly 3,000 members participated in the hour-long call, with some 500 retirees remaining on the line for the entire duration.

Future State and Teachers' COLA Base Hurdles

Challenges In Achieving Higher Amounts

It’s been five and a half years – July 2012 to be exact – since state and teacher retirees saw a permanent increase in their COLA Base from $12,000 to $13,000. Naturally our state and teacher members are wondering when will the COLA Base be increased.

January 2018 Legislative Update

Healthcare Reform Bill Advances

The start of a New Year, ending in an even number, sets the stage for what will be a busy seven months on Beacon Hill. Under House and Senate rules, formal business within the State House ends on July 30th during the second year of the legislative session.

2018 Marks Medicare Part B Increase For Many Retirees

Standard Monthly Payment Now $134

With the official news this fall that Social Security would be paying a 2.0% COLA (Cost-of-Living Adjustment) in 2018, members may have been looking forward to some extra money in their SS check. This 2% COLA will produce an average increase of $27 in monthly SS benefits next year.

Social Security WEP Update

Ways and Means Activity Continues

Amidst the work done to craft the tax reform package passed by the House of Representatives in November, their key Ways & Means Committee staff continue to quietly work to refine a proposal reforming the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).

National News: Public Sector Health Plans Meet

Share Ideas on Quality & Cost Containment

In early November, the Association took part in the 13th Annual Conference of the Public Sector Healthcare Roundtable held in Old Town Alexandria, VA.

Mass Retirees Legislative Director Shawn Duhamel represented the Association at the Conference, which was attended by public sector healthcare leaders from roughly twenty-four states. Attendees traveled from as far as Washington State and California.

Cancer Prevention Takes Center Stage At Retirement Conference

Firefighters Focus on Prevention

Twice a year the Mass. Association of Contributory Retirement Systems (MACRS) holds educational conferences designed to enhance the knowledge of board members and staff from the state’s 104 retirement systems. Beyond simply learning about investment practices and retirement law, attendees have the opportunity to grow their knowledge of some of the most important issues of our times.

Celebrating Fifty Years: 1968 - 2018

The New Year brings extra reason to celebrate for Mass Retirees members, as 2018 marks the Fiftieth Anniversary of our Association’s founding in 1968.

In addition to the restyled newsletter banner, Mass Retirees plans to make the anniversary the focal point for much of 2018. Amongst other events, a special 50th Anniversary publication is planned for later in the year. This publication will both chronical and celebrate the numerous achievements made by Mass Retirees over a half century.