September 2005

Plymouth Sheriff Battles County Commissioners Over Insurance

- Retirees Caught In Crossfire - Retirees of the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department received
unwelcome and disturbing news in early June. Due to a dispute between
the Plymouth County Commissioners and the County Sheriff, funding for
the retirees' health insurance had been called into question.

New Interest In Health Care Proxy Law

- UniCare/GIC Establish New Program - Following on the heels of the highly publicized case of Terry
Schiavo, officials with UniCare, the insurance company that administers
the state's Indemnity Plan, began to wonder how the lessons learned
from the Florida case could be applied in Massachusetts.

Towns Continue To Adopt Coalition Bargaining

- Reading Is The Latest To Accept The Health Insurance Law - "Municipal officials, retirees and employees have been turning to the
coalition bargaining law (Section 19 of Chapter 32B) as a solution to
rising healthcare insurance costs," reports Insurance Coordinator
Cheryl Stillman. "You can add Reading as the latest to join the list of
towns to make the move."

Towns Can't Force Medicare Retirees Into Part D

SEPTEMBER 2005 - Association Takes Strong Stand - Recently,
we observed a disturbing trend among local officials and their health
insurance consultants. "I've been at meetings with municipal leaders
and their consultants, at which the speakers have recommended that
towns consider transferring their Medicare retirees to the Part D
program," reports Legislative Liaison Shawn Duhamel.

Medicare Enrollment Grows

- State Savings Could Top $200 Million - A recent study, conducted by the state's Group Insurance Commission
(GIC), confirms what Association officials have long suspected, an
overwhelming number of retirees are enrolled in Medicare.

Push For Part B Premium Refund

- Federal Subsidy Key To Efforts - When retirees insured through the GIC lost their Medicare Part B
refund to budget cuts in 2002, what stung the most was knowing that the
GIC, and by extension the state, was saving millions while they were
forced to pay for Medicare Part B. Currently, a retiree enrolled in
Medicare Part B pays $938.40 ($1,876.80 per couple) a year to the
federal government.

COLA Base Proposal By Year's End

SEPTEMBER 2005 - Legislative Package Moving Forward - After years of lobbying and months of intense study, a proposal is nearly finished to raise the $12,000 COLA base to a higher level.

Summit Meeting Warns Of Healthcare Costs

- State/Local Governments Must Prepare In Advance - According to healthcare financial leaders, our state and local
governments must now prepare to meet future healthcare costs for their

PERAC Seeks Greater Oversight

SEPTEMBER 2005 - Retirement Systems Wary - Following on the heels of several scandals involving some of the nation's largest corporations, the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC) is about to unveil a series of proposals to strengthen its oversight of our state's 106 retirement systems.

Mass. Pensions And Income Taxes In Other States

- When considering a move outside the Commonwealth, there are naturally
several factors that a member weighs before making a decision. Among
them is whether their contributory pension, which is not subject to tax
here, will be taxed by the prospective new home state.