November 2003

Feds Move To Block Drug Imports

NOVEMBER 2003
- Springfield/Pittsfield Look To Canada - They had hoped to save their cities millions of dollars a year by
purchasing prescription drugs from Canada, but officials in Springfield
and Pittsfield may have to develop a new strategy to cut the rising
cost of prescription drugs.

Easier Route For Local Retirees

NOVEMBER 2003
- Legislature Changes Insurance Law - Members, who have retired from one of the twenty-six towns or seven
school districts which do not contribute towards retirees' health
insurance coverage, may now find it easier to get the community to
contribute towards their insurance.

Lynnfield Retired Teachers Oppose Insurance Change

NOVEMBER 2003 - Association Joins In Local Effort - Lynnfield
retired teachers have rallied together to oppose a controversial
proposal before their board of selectmen, to drop the insurance plan
that they now have with the state's Group Insurance Commission (GIC).
In place of the current plan, the proposal would switch these retirees
to the town's insurance plan (Blue Cross/Blue Shield - Medex 3)
purchased through the MIIA (Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance
Association).

GIC's Reimbursement Letter Misleads Many

NOVEMBER 2003
- Full Medicare Premium Paid By Members - Members, who are insured under the state's Group Insurance Commission
and also enrolled in Medicare, received a check from the state
indicating it was a partial reimbursement for Medicare Part B. Having
read the GIC's notice accompanying the check, these members were left
with the general impression that they were receiving a reimbursement on
the money withheld from their Social Security check to pay Part B.

Legislative Hearings Underway

NOVEMBER 2003
- Committee Targets GIC Practices - After a short summer recess, state Legislators began their fall work
in earnest beginning in early September. Key to Association members is
the work being conducted by the Joint Committee on Public Service,
before which all public retirement legislation is reviewed.

Romney Attacks State's Pension Plan

NOVEMBER 2003
- Will Seek Change In January - Governor Mitt Romney has revived his plan to overhaul the
Commonwealth's public pension formula, this time using former UMass
President William Bulger's pension as a Trojan Horse.

Disability Retirees Update: Courts Uphold PERAC's Authority

NOVEMBER 2003
- Members on disability are permitted by the pension law to work and
supplement their retirement. But the law does limit the amount that
they can earn.

3,600 Accept State's Early-Out

NOVEMBER 2003
- Local ERIs Also Being Adopted - The Commonwealth's second early retirement incentive offer in
two-years was accepted by 3,600 state employees prior to the cutoff
date of September 8.

Appeal Board Rules For Option C Veterans

NOVEMBER 2003
- Final Word: Full Vets Benefit Allowed - For veterans, who retired with an Option C regular pension, they now
have the final word on whether they should receive the full amount of
their vets benefit, and the answer is yes. "Our patience has paid off,"
reports Legislative Chairman Bill Hill who is himself a Korean War
veteran receiving an Option C pension.

Spousal Benefit: Employees Win First Round But Wait Continues For A Final Decision

NOVEMBER 2003
- Association Takes On Fight For Member's Spouse - Employees, who have been denied the right to retire under the spousal
benefit provision because of the law's repeal this past July, have won
the first battle. But unfortunately, final victory cannot yet be
declared, as members, along with their spouses who are affected by the
repeal, must continue to wait for a decision from the state's appeal
board.