Latest from Mass Retirees
SEPTEMBER 2016 VOICE: Throughout the ages, philosophers have cautioned not to allow perfection to become the enemy of the good. In other words, inaction is often the worse option.
Such is the place where proponents of reforming the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) law now find ourselves.
Our Association is part of a national coalition working to reform both the WEP and Government Pension Offset (GPO) laws.
SEPTEMBER 2016 VOICE: In the final hours of the formal legislative session for 2016, the House and Senate voted to override Governor Baker’s veto of Section 45 of the FY17 State Budget.
Section 45 extends the municipal retiree health insurance premium moratorium by two years, until July 1, 2018. Had the veto not been overridden, some municipalities were poised to immediately increase insurance contribution percentage rates for retirees.
SEPTEMBER 2016 VOICE: A week in July that began with the promise of legislation reforming the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) advancing in Congress, has instead ended with the bill suffering a setback.
Association officials spent significant time in Washington, DC, working side-by-side with coalition partners from Texas in an effort to advance WEP reform through Congress this year.
SEPTEMBER 2016 VOICE: Under the proposal, the current WEP law would be repealed for future retirees, replaced with a new Social Security formula that would calculate benefits based on employment covered by Social Security vs. employment under a pension plan not covered by Social Security. This would impact anyone eligible for Social Security beginning January 1, 2018.
SEPTEMBER 2016 VOICE: Despite pleas from the Leominster Retirement Board elected members John Perry and William “Tex” Thibodeau, the Mayor’s Board appointment, David LaPlante and his appointed City Comptroller John Richard voted “No” on granting a $360 annual “COLA” increase for this year. This will be the seventh consecutive denial dating back to June, 2010 that both of these members have voted “No”.
SEPTEMBER 2016 VOICE: With next year being the 20th year of local COLAs being granted by the regional and municipal board of trustees, all of the state’s 103 local retirement boards, with Leominster being the one regrettable exception, voted for their new pension cost-of-living (COLA) effective this July. The Governor and the Legislature approved the 3% State and Teachers’ COLAs on the $13,000 base.
GIC Report Sheds Light on Out-of-Pocket Costs
SEPTEMBER 2016 VOICE: What our members are paying out-of-pocket, including copays and deductibles, for their health care is of utmost concern to this Association,” states President Frank Valeri. “For that reason, we take special note of any study or analysis that sheds light on the issue.”
SEPTEMBER 2016 VOICE: According to a recent analysis by the Group Insurance Commission (GIC), municipal enrollment in the state health insurance program has almost doubled from July 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 (FY11 – FY15). During that five-year period, the number of municipal enrollees rose from 35,700 to 70.600 (98%).
AUGUST 1, 2016: With just 9 minutes remaining in the formal legislative session for the year (which ended Sunday at midnight), the State Senate voted to override Governor Charlie Baker’s veto of a law protecting municipal and teacher retirees from runaway health insurance costs.
JULY 29, 2016: Our legislative team will be at work on Beacon Hill through the last weekend in July as the state legislature holds rare back-to-back weekend sessions. The Saturday-Sunday sessions mark the end of the formal legislative calendar for the year.
JULY 18, 2016: A week that began with the promise of legislation reforming the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) advancing in Congress, has instead ended with the bill suffering a setback.
Association officials spent two days last week in Washington, DC, working side-by-side with coalition partners from Texas in an effort to advance WEP reform through Congress this year.
By Reps. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Richard Neal (D-Mass.)Read Full Article: The Hill
JULY 8, 2016: Despite wide bipartisan legislative support, Governor Charlie Baker vetoed the two-year extension of the Municipal Retiree Health Insurance Premium Moratorium.
Association officials are now seeking a House and Senate override of the veto, which must take place no later than July 30th.
JUNE 30, 2016: On the final day of Fiscal Year 2016, the State Legislature passed a new state budget for the coming fiscal year. Contained within the budget, as Section 45, is a two-year extension of the Municipal Retiree Insurance Premium Moratorium.
JUNE 27, 2016: With just three weeks to go before the US Congress breaks for its summer recess prior to the national Republican and Democratic Conventions in July, work on a potential fix for Social Security’s dreaded Windfall Elimination Provision continues at a feverish pace on Capitol Hill.
JUNE 21, 2016: Members are asked to contact their Massachusetts State Senator and Representative and ask that they support Section 46 of the Senate Budget – which protects municipal retirees and retired teachers from unfair increases in local health insurance premiums.