May 2005

Social Security Threat Looms

MAY 2005
- Retirement Officials Oppose Mandate - With the winds of change swirling around Washington on the issue of
Social Security, Massachusetts retirement officials are keeping a
watchful eye on developments in the nation's capitol. Even though the
fate of President Bush's plan to “reform” Social Security is yet to be
known, the danger of the state's mandatory inclusion in Social Security
is not something to be taken lightly.

WEP/GPO Repeal Gains Ground

MAY 2005
- Now Supported By Majority In House - Legislation that would repeal both the Windfall Elimination Provision
(WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) has quickly gained the
support of a majority of members of the US House of Representatives.

Springfield's Finance Control Board Flexes Muscle

MAY 2005
- Springfield's Finance Control Board, appointed by Governor Romney to
oversee the embattled city's fiscal crisis, has targeted the
Springfield Retirement Board's investment record as part of the city's

Joint Ways And Means Hearings Held

MAY 2005
- Kick-Off '05-'06 Legislative Session - After a series of joint hearings throughout the Commonwealth, the
combined House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means returned to the
State House for their final joint session on March 14.

New Leaders For Public Service Committee

MAY 2005
- Buoniconti and Kaufman: Two Voices For Public Retirees - In making key committee assignments for the 2004-2005 legislative
session, Senate President Robert Travaglini and House Speaker Salvatore
DiMasi have named Senator Stephen Buoniconti (D-W. Springfield) and
Representative Jay Kaufman (D-Lexington) to chair the key Joint
Committee on Public Service.

Retired Franklin Teachers Fight To Stay In State's Insurance Plan

MAY 2005
- Retired teachers of the town of Franklin are in danger of losing
their health insurance coverage under the Commonwealth's Retired
Municipal Teachers (RMT) plan and instead being forced to join the Town
of Franklin plan.

Judge Stops Medicare Discrimination

MAY 2005
- Since we first reported on this issue over four years ago, a federal
judge has once again ruled that employers cannot discriminate against
their retirees when they become eligible for Medicare. Editor's Note:
It bears repeating that Mass. law prohibits the state and
municipalities from reducing or ending benefits to their Medicare

GIC Dental Plan Continues To Grow

MAY 2005
- Retiree Premiums Reduced Again - For our members, who are enrolled in the GIC (Group Insurance
Commission) and participate in its retiree dental insurance plan, there
is good news. For the second year in a row, individuals will see their
monthly premium drop from $29.99 to $27.13, while a couple or family
will be paying $64.69, and not $71.51, beginning this July.

State Retains Express Scripts

MAY 2005
- New Three-Year Prescription Drug Contract Given - TheCommonwealth's Group Insurance Commission (GIC) has unanimously
approved a new three-year contract for Express Scripts, Inc. Retired
teachers from 73 school districts, various local retirees, and of
course retired state employees are insured under one of the various
state GIC plans.

Strong Push For Coalition Bargaining On Local Health Insurance

MAY 2005
- Dracut: Latest to Adopt Law - In several communities, a serious push is underway by retirees and
employees for the adoption of the local option law (Section 19 of
Chapter 32B), which allows for coalition bargaining on their health
insurance. Some of these efforts are producing positive results.