Retiree Health Reform Update--Open Hearing this Thursday

SHARE members, like other employees of the State of Massachusetts, are vested in the pension after 10 years of creditable service. Currently, they are also eligible, upon retirement, for retiree health insurance. House Bill 59 proposes to change the eligibility for retiree health coverage. (Please see our previous blog post for full details of the Major Changes Proposed to the State Retiree Health benefit.)

On the plus side, it appears unlikely that the bill will be passed into law in the next few weeks before we reach the end of the current legislative session. If the issue is revived in the next legislative session (as it might be, since the benefit represents an estimated 84 billion dollar unfunded liability), the political landscape of the election year is likely to yield changes in any proposal that might be made.

That said, we want to make sure that the policy-makers know how important this is to SHARE members. We know that many of you have made important decisions about your careers and livelihoods with the idea that you would have access to the benefit as it is currently offered. Although the current version of the bill provides exclusions for State employees nearing retirement with certain amounts of service, if it were passed as-is, the effects on the Retiree Health Benefit would be dramatic and would affect most SHARE members.

House 59 is currently being reviewed by the Joint Committee on Public Service. The lawmakers on the committee have scheduled an open hearing for public commentThe hearing will be held October 31st, at 11am, in the Gardner Auditorium of the Massachusetts State House in Boston. SHARE leadership will be attending, and welcome members to join us on Beacon Hill that day.

In addition, if you would like to make a personal appeal to the Chairs of the Joint Committee, or to your local elected official, we encourage you to write to them to let them know who you are, what the Retiree Health benefit means to you, and that you're paying attention to the outcomes. 

Please call the SHARE office at 508-929-4020 x18 if you have questions or thoughts. Below you can find email addresses for the Chairs of the Joint Committee on Public Service. Online you can also find a full list of the names and contacts for the Joint Committee Members, and contact information for your local elected officials.


William N. Brownsberger, Senate Chair:
Michael J. Rodrigues, Senate Vice Chair:

Aaron M. Michlewitz, House Chair:
John J. Lawn, House Vice Chair: