Latest from Mass Retirees
WASHINGTON — Concerned about the rising prevalence and sophistication of identity theft, most private health insurance companies have abandoned the use of Social Security numbers to identify individuals. The federal government even forbids private insurers to use the numbers on insurance cards when they provide medical or drug benefits under contract with Medicare.Read Full Article: New York Times
Open Enrollment Begins
APRIL 7, 2015: At the proverbial 11th hour, U-Mass Medical Group agreed to a new contract with the state’s Group Insurance Commission and its basic indemnity plan carrier, UniCare.
For months U-Mass Medical had baulked at agreeing to a new UniCare contract, despite repeated attempts by the GIC and UniCare officials to broker a deal. The dispute was reportedly due to a disagreement over reimbursement rates paid to U-Mass. Officials claimed that the rates offered by the GIC through UniCare were too low.
Mass Retirees will hold its annual Somerville, MA meeting on Friday, April 10th. The meeting begins at 11:00 AM and lasts approximately 90 minutes. All members are welcome to bring a guest. Door prizes will be drawn for those in attendance.
Holiday Inn Somerville, 30 Washington St., Somerville, MA
By Joshua Miller
Globe Staff March 23, 2015
In a boost for a key part of Governor Charlie Baker’s budget plan, Speaker Robert A. DeLeo Monday backed a pension-sweetening early retirement program that Baker proposed to help close a gnawing state budget gap.
DeLeo said the House of Representatives intends to vote as soon as this week on the plan, which works to entice thousands of state workers to retire early by offering them a chance to boost their pensions by crediting them with up to five additional years of age or work.Read Full Article: Boston Globe
Friday, March 27, 2015
11:00 am to 1:00 pm
Double Tree By Hilton (Formerly Four Points Sheraton)
99 Erdman Way
Rt. 12, Fitchburg Leominster
Exit 12 off Rt. 2
MARCH 9, 2014: Last week, Governor Charlie Baker proposed the first early retirement incentive (ERI) plan in nearly twelve years as a means to avoid potential layoffs of some 4,500 state executive branch employees.
The Massachusetts health care industry’s traditional system of paying doctors for every office visit, test, and procedure may be nearing its end.Read Full Article: Boston Globe
Governor Proposes Higher Employee Contributions
MARCH 5, 2015: Monthly insurance premiums for the 425,000 enrollees of the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) will increase starting in June.
The increase in monthly premiums is the result of higher medical inflation across nearly all GIC plans. Essentially, the price of medical care and prescription drugs is once again on the rise.
MARCH 4, 2015: Governor Charlie Baker has included a full 3% COLA for retired state employees and teachers in his FY16 budget proposal filed today. The COLA would be applied to a $13,000 base.
COLAs for local, county, regional and district retirees are established locally and administrated by local retirement systems. At the local level the COLA base ranges from $12,000 to $18,000 – an amount determined by the retirement board and local legislative body.
By Joshua Miller Globe Staff March 02, 2015
Facing the prospect of a daunting state budget gap, Governor Charlie Baker will file legislation this week aimed at enticing thousands of state employees to retire early. But if the move does not generate the expected savings, workers will be laid off, a top official said Sunday.Read Full Article: Boston Globe
By Beth Healy
Globe Staff February 24, 2015
Deborah Goldberg settles into a chair by the fireplace in the state treasurer’s office, the first woman to take residence there in a dozen years. She has rearranged the furniture, living-room-style, to be more inviting.
Reduces Costs by $145m Over Three-Years
FEBRUARY 18, 2015: Following an extensive search process, the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) voted to retain CVS CareMark for at least another three-years beginning July 1, 2015. The Rhode Island-based firm has been the pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) for the GIC’s UniCare plans since 2010.
Association Deeply Opposes $60m Cost Shift
FEBRUARY 17, 2015: Over the objections of our Association and union representatives, the Commonwealth’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC) voted to increase copayments and deductibles for Fiscal Year 2016, beginning July 1, 2015.
While this increase marks the first of its kind in more than five years, Association officials strongly oppose what we view as further cost shifting onto the backs of retirees and employees who utilize their insurance benefits.
February 4, 2015: Association officials were present and offered testimony at the state Group Insurance Commission’s (GIC) annual public hearing held today at the State House.
Retired state employees who are members will shortly receive a ballot for a very important election. As you know the State Retirement Board has two elected members who serve on staggered three-year terms – Ralph White and Theresa McGoldrick.
Blizzard May Cause Postal Delays
JANUARY 29, 2015: Tax documents for retired Massachusetts public employees are now in the process of being issued by the 10 retirement systems.
The IRS gives retirement boards (and all employers) through January 30th to issue 1099s to those retirees and surviving spouses who received a retirement allowance in 2014. Some systems have already mailed the forms to retirees. All members should receive their 1099 document by the end of the first week of February.
The Association will hold its annual Northeastern Mass. Meeting on Friday, January 23rd at the Holiday Inn Tewksbury. The meeting will begin at 11:00 am and last approximately 90 minutes. As always, attendence prizes will be drawn at the conclusion of the meeting.
The Holiday Inn is located at 4 Highwood Drive, Tewksbury. Members travling on I495 should use exit 39.
JANUARY 16, 2015: The Association has completed the filing process for its 2015-16 Legislative package. Under joint House-Senate rules, the deadline was Friday, January 16, 2015 at 5:00 pm.
All told, fourteen separate bills make up the Association’s proposal for the new session that began on January 7th and lasts through the first Tuesday in January 2017. Bills will shortly be assigned numbers and be assigned to various committees for review.
Legislature & Patrick Act at 11th Hour
JANUARY 8, 2015: Moments before taking his “lone walk” down to the front steps of the State House on his final evening as Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick signed into law our Association’s bill adjusting the outside earnings limits of accidental disability retirees – now Chapter 492, Acts of 2014.